Changes in Depression Post Gastric Band: A Possible Cure?

Overweight and Feeling Fed Up? Chase away the blues with gastric banding, a cure?

In the past, the long-term effects and consequences on depression that weight loss surgery has, has been unclear. In particular, there was no evidence of how gastric banding would impact on patients’ suffering from depression and insecurity. However, all of this has been changed by a landmark study published in the Obesity Surgery Journal.

The researchers took 248 morbidly obese patients “seeking gastric banding” and asked them to complete questionnaires for “symptoms of depression and self-acceptance. Of this number, 128 patients were treated with gastric banding and 120 were not.” As was expected, the patients who were morbidly obese were suffering from more of the clinical symptoms of depression than the average for the rest of the population. After 5 to 7 years, the scientists and psychologists reassessed the patients who had gastric banding and those who had not.

The results were astounding. After 5 to 7 years, not only had the patients who had gastric banding lost more weight, but they had “improved significantly in depression and self-acceptance”. However, when compared to the patients who had not received the gastric band, there had been very little, if any, development in their depression levels.

What the study also found was that the symptoms were most alleviated when the patient lived together with a partner and was therefore not alone, and had a high pre-operative depression score.

While the researchers admitted that the results are not conclusive proof of the causal link between obesity and depression, the improvement in “psychological variables was because of the considerable weight loss. The treatment for being overweight was associated with an improvement in depression”.

After much success, the researchers concluded, “morbid obesity is associated with depressive symptoms and low self-acceptance. Gastric banding results in both long-term weight loss and improvement in depression and self-acceptance” and that even after 5 to 7 years, “the weight loss achieved by surgery was associated with a greater reduction in depressive symptoms and an increase in self-acceptance”.

REF: OBES SURG (2008) 18:314-320

DOI 10.1007/s11695-007-9316-7


Marion Schowalter
Andrea Benecke
Caroline Lager
Johannes Heimbucher
Marco Bueter
Andreas Thalheimer
Martin Fein
Matthias Richard
Hermann Faller