Another major drawback of gastric bypass surgery is the potential for ‘addiction transfer’. This phenomenon has been discussed by Souter (Souter) and Robyn Shelton. Souter has described the phenomenon of ‘addiction transfer’ as a process by which patients start abusing substances like alcohol, cigarettes and money when they cannot abuse food after the surgery.
Only a small proportion of patients (less than 5%) are affected by ‘addiction transfer’ but “it’s something people have to be aware of because it can really get out of control” (Souter). In the article, Souter has described how three women developed addiction potential to different substances after gastric bypass. They were addicted to food but could no longer abuse it so they adopted different ways of overcoming this addiction. The first example is of a 42 yrs old woman, Marcy. She became addicted to excessive shopping after the surgery. She bought loads of clothes and shoes even when she did not need them. This continued for many years and she spent all the money she had and ended up in a debt of $15,000. The second example is of a 29 yrs old woman, Katherine, who became addicted to alcohol after her surgery. Previously, she had never been an alcoholic in her life, but after surgery she started drinking alcohol every weekend. She became addicted to such an extent that she drank uncountable glasses of alcohol at a time. Due to this habit she lost control of herself and was found unconscious at many places.
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