"It's almost like going from home plate to third without touching second," Morton said. "You get there faster."
Morton said education is key. For instance, patients should realize that alcohol also has calories, which can sacrifice weight-loss efforts. He said, however, that the benefits of these surgeries far outweigh the risks for many patients.
"These patients start out with many medical problems, lose weight and their mortality decreases," he said. "The benefits are quite clear, and the risk of substance use and abuse is manageable."
Although the study found an association between weight-loss surgery and increased use of drugs or alcohol, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Learn more about the risks and benefits of gastric bypass surgery at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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