Effects of cognitive behavior therapy on eating behaviors, affective symptoms, and weight loss after bariatric surgery: a randomized clinical trial
Background: The long-term effects of presurgical psychological interventions on weight loss, eating behaviors, affective symptoms, and health-related quality of life remain uncertain. This study aimed to assess the 4-year effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) before bariatric surgery on these outcomes.
Methods: Single-center randomized controlled parallel-group trial. Patients were assessed after CBT before bariatric surgery (n = 98) and 1 year (n = 80) and 4 years (n = 61) after surgery. The intervention group received a 10-week preoperative individual CBT focusing on self-monitoring to identify triggers of dysfunctional eating behaviors in order to improve regulation of eating as well as the breaking of the interrelationship between eating behaviors, negative mood, and dysfunctional cognitions.
Results: The 61 patients (70% women) had a mean (SD) age of 42.4 (10.1) years and BMI 43.5 (4.4) kg/m2. Preoperative CBT was not associated with 1- and 4-year reduction of dysfunctional eating behaviors, affective symptoms and body weight, or improved health-related quality of life. Patients with minor or considerable symptoms of depression receiving CBT had lower mean BMI than controls, both before surgery, − 1.1 kg/m2, and − 1.5 kg/m2, and 4-years after surgery, − 2.9 kg/m2 and − 7.5 kg/m2, respectively.
Conclusion: Presurgical CBT was not associated with better long-term outcomes. However, in patients with minor or considerable symptoms of depression, CBT was associated with lower body weight before and 4 years after surgery. Additional studies are required to verify whether patients with symptoms of depression should be offered CBT before and/or after bariatric surgery, and which clinical aspects the CBT should address.
Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01403558.