Here is a very strange statistic. 20% of patients who undergo one of the surgical procedures develops a drinking problem according to research from the University of Pittsburgh. The research was published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. Now, this varies depending on which type of weight-loss surgery. Apparently, the gastric bypass patients have twice the risk of alcohol abuse as compared to those who have a band fitted.

The study has found that within five years of a bypass, 20.8% of patients develop symptoms of alcohol abuse as compared to 11.3% who have the band. While this study doesn’t explain the issue, another study suggested that the gastric bypass causes a higher elevation of alcohol in the blood than does the weight-loss band and that this results in alcohol being more addictive than usual. Following more than 2000 patients who participated in a weight-loss surgery study in 2006, they actually found that both the gastric bypass group and the band group had an increase in alcohol consumption during the seven-year period. However, there was only a significant increase in alcohol use disorder symptoms (which are measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) with the bypass.

Dr. Mitchell Roslin, a bariatric surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City explained the interesting phenomena as such,

“A gastric bypass patient has a small pouch [for a stomach] so alcohol goes straight into the intestine and is absorbed rapidly. When it is absorbed rapidly, there is a high peak and rapid fall, and the higher absorption rate makes alcohol more addictive. Previous studies indicate that, compared with banding, gastric bypass surgery is associated with a higher and quicker elevation of alcohol in the blood.”