I had gastric bypass surgery in 2003. Prior to my surgery, I suffered through many eating disorders and depression. To the best of my recollection, my eating disorder began very early in childhood.
I recall having alot of anxiety in the first grade, and being obese by the time I went into second grade. By the beginning of the school year in third grade I weighed 102 lbs. I weighed 164lbs in 7th grade. By 9th grade I tipped the scales at 185lbs.
Shortly before I turned 16, I began taking diet pills and exercising. Within a few months I weighed 120lbs via excessive exercise and severe food restriction. And so began my cycle with anorexia, followed by bulemia that lasted about 20-yrs.
During those 20-yrs my weight soared to 285lbs as I struggled with night eating disorder and binge eating disorder and depression. Life was very difficult. I would not go so far to say that it was not a life worth living. Perhaps it best can be described as a life half-lived.
Eating Disorders and Bariatric Surgery
It is now recognized that many of those people who are seeking bariatric surgery have an eating disorder. Although studies have not found an eating disorder to be an accurate predictor as to what the outcome of weight loss surgery might be, studies have found that those who have eating disorders tend to lose less weight or regain more weight after bariatric surgery than those who do not have an eating disorders.
Data also suggests that those people who report binge eating after weight loss surgery have more psychopathology, depression, and alcoholism.
Those who have histories of eating disorders prior to gastric bypass surgery may be at risk for developing post operative full-syndrome eating disorders. Astute follow up is needed for these particular patients.
While the potential for full-syndrome eating disorders such as binge-eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa after bariatric surgery is light, it remains a possibility for some and has become a reality for others.
Night-Eating Syndrome (NES)
Night-eating syndrome is defined as a lack of morning appetite and overeating at night. It is accompanied by agitation and insomnia, making it not only an eating disorder but a disorder of mood and sleep as well.
Those who have this disorder eat nothing at all in the morning and consume fewer calories than the average person over the course of a day. They become increasingly depressed as the day extends and eat high-fat carbohydrates throughout the night. This behavior results in a form of self-medication. Eating carbohydrates increases serotonin levels in the brain and causes sleep.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating of large quantities of food, usually in about two hours. It is mindless eating that can continue long after a person has become full.
Binge eaters use food as a coping mechanism in an attempt to alleviate stress and other undesirable emotions. The attempts fail almost exclusively as binge eaters normally feel worst after gorging themselves.