Person wondering about the link between gastric bypass and alcoholism

What Is the Link Between Gastric Bypass Surgery and Alcoholism?

Gastric bypass surgery has gained much attention as an effective means of dealing with overeating and obesity challenges. This procedure typically results in drastic weight loss that can help people achieve weight goals that once seemed out of reach. When you see how much success others have had with gastric bypass, you may be tempted to consider the procedure yourself. But you should be aware that while you may lose excess weight, there is the potential for new health problems to pop up. Keep reading to learn how gastric bypass and alcoholism are linked and what you can do to reduce the chances of developing a drinking problem.

If you are struggling with alcohol after gastric bypass, call Promises Brazos Valley at 979.426.0086 to learn how our addiction treatment programs can help.

How Are Gastric Bypass and Alcoholism Related?

It may be surprising to learn that there is a link between gastric bypass and alcoholism. Gastric bypass surgery addresses obesity by reducing the stomach size so that a person cannot eat large quantities of food. This, of course, results in drastic weight loss. But what does this type of weight loss surgery have to do with alcoholism?

While obesity is sometimes related to medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or diabetes, there is often a mental health component to overeating. Many people turn to food to soothe uncomfortable emotions and self-medicate anxiety and depression. Similarly, plenty of people also self-medicate these issues with alcohol. When either of these is used to numb your feelings or elevate your mood over the long term, you can develop an addiction to food or alcohol. 

If food was your drug of choice and you get gastric bypass surgery to address the resulting obesity, you can no longer eat to excess to soothe yourself. The painful thoughts and emotions that drove you to overeat will still be there, though, so you will likely seek another method of self-medication. For many people, this leads to alcohol misuse and, eventually, addiction.

How Can You Prevent Alcohol Addiction After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

If you struggle with overeating and obesity, you do not have to give up on gastric bypass surgery to avoid a potential alcohol addiction. Instead, you can take some of the following actions to reduce your risk of developing a drinking problem after your procedure:

  • Avoid alcohol consumption altogether or limit it to a moderate level – This means having one or fewer drinks per day for women. For men, moderate drinking consists of two or fewer drinks per day.
  • If you do not wish to remove alcohol from your life permanently, consider avoiding drinking for a minimum of six months after your surgery – You may become more sensitive to alcohol after undergoing gastric bypass, so it would be wise to abstain as your body heals.
  • Find a therapist with experience treating clients struggling with food addiction – Addressing overeating at its core can reduce your risk of swapping food addiction for alcohol addiction.

Additionally, search for support groups in your area or online for people who have undergone gastric bypasses or other weight loss surgeries. You can learn from the experiences of others and how they tackled food or alcohol addiction after surgery. They may even be able to recommend a counselor specializing in eating disorders. 

End Alcohol Addiction After Gastric Bypass at Promises Brazos Valley

Now that you know the connection between gastric bypass and alcohol addiction, you can help prevent a potential drinking problem in yourself or a loved one. But if alcohol addiction has already set in, contact Promises Brazos Valley today at 979.426.0086. Our experienced team can help you overcome addiction while staying on track with your weight management goals.

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