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Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Linked to Higher Suicide Risk

In a recent study, suicide attempts by patients who had bariatric weight loss surgery were 54% higher than among these same patients during the three years before their surgeries. Post-surgery, these patients were threefold more likely to harm themselves compared to the general population. The study, which was conducted in Canada, followed 8,815 people who had bariatric weight loss surgery.

The study authors did not establish causation for the increased suicide risk, but suggested that the results may have been due to the additive behaviors that led patients to become overweight becoming displaced toward other substances such as medication. Almost 70% of the “self-harm emergencies” identified in the study involved drug overdoses. Study authors also noted it was possible that the surgery could have altered the patients’ brain chemistry, heightening the risk of depression or suicidal behavior.

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