Gastric band patients turn to alcohol

Medical experts in East Yorkshire have warned that patients who have recently been fitted with gastric bands are turning to alcohol to stem their food cravings.

According to, a total of 546 people in the region received the treatment in the year to September, yet it's thought that as many as 19,000 people are "high-risk" drinkers.

Health officials say this supports the theory that patients who have recently received a gastric band in their treatment for weight loss are simply "switching from one addiction to another".

As states, the band is used to slow consumption of food and thus the amount of food consumed.

Gastric bands typically cost the NHS between £5000 - £7000 per operation and can only be fitted to patients with a body mass index of over 40 who can prove that they have tried all other ways of losing weight themselves.

John Tomlinson, a clinical nurse with the addiction wing at the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, said: "There is recent anecdotal evidence to suggest a number of people who have had gastric band operations are being referred to the alcoholic treatment services."

He said this represents a huge health issue and called for more research into the actions of gastric band patients after receiving surgery.