Weight loss surgery and alcoholism link growing, study says

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center say they've zeroed in on a potential link between people who have weight-loss surgery and alcoholism.

According to, a specific type of gasric bypass surgery which makes the stomach smaller and the intestines shorter can increase a persons risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Doctors say that this link is stronger than a previous theory, which placed causality on a person developing an alcohol disorder after weight-loss surgery on the patient "shifting addiction" from one thing to another.

In those cases, doctors believed people would pick up their intake of alcohol to make up for a diminished addiction to something else. However, the new study says that an increase in the speed in which alcohol is absorbed by a smaller stomach may contribute to this uptick.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation, researchers found a prevalence of alcohol disorders in the second year after a person's bypass surgery versus similar circumstances in the first year.

The type of surgery cited in the study, known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is typically performed on people whose body-mass index is above 40, according to WebMD. That BMI classifies a patient as morbidly obese. ABC says that about 200,000 people per year have the surgery in the United States.