Bariatric Surgery as a Treatment for Food Addiction? A Review of the Literature

Afton M. Koball, Gretchen Ames, Rachel E. Goetze, Karen Grothe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Purpose of Review: The purpose of this literature review is to explore a potentially controversial hypothesis– that bariatric surgery could be used as a “treatment” for food addiction. Recent Findings: Two small studies have examined food addiction pre- and post-bariatric surgery and suggest that the prevalence of symptoms is reduced within the first-year post-operatively. Many physiological, metabolic, and neurobiological changes occur following bariatric surgery. Theoretically, these changes that modify the factors associated with obesity and eating behaviors related to obesity could also impact food addiction symptoms. Summary: Future research includes need for examination of whether bariatric surgery improves or worsens food addiction symptoms, especially over the long term. Although the title of this review is bold, in practice, it would behoove providers to carefully evaluate patients pre- and post-operatively to determine best treatment approaches for those with food addiction and severe obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Food addiction
  • Problematic eating behaviors
  • Treatment for food addiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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