Studies by New York Obesity Research Center’s Alexis Conason, PsyD found that there could be a link between specific weight loss surgeries and addictive behaviors that the patients may take up after the surgeries.
It is believed that patients that have undergone a variety of weight loss surgeries might be at a bigger risk for showing addictive behaviors including smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse. Studies showed that there was a greater chance of increased alcohol use after a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
It’s in the Numbers – In the study, 23 men and 132 women who were going to have Roux-en-Y or laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery, the individuals answered questionnaires regarding their behaviors and drug use and drinking before the surgery.
The study then followed up with the same patients at intervals of one month, three months, six months, twelve months and twenty four months following the surgeries. The overall results revealed a significant increase in their substance usage after the two years had passed.
Reasons for the Addictive Behaviors
The relationship might be explained in the patient history. Many of the patients that seek out these types of surgeries have had a history of utilizing food consumption as a way to manage their emotions. Once the food element is removed from the picture they move to another coping mechanism in the form of alcohol or drugs.
In addition to these findings, there are some real life factors to consider that can result in addiction after weight loss surgery. Many patients lose up to 60% of their body weight within the first year of having the surgery completed.
This can be overwhelming for those participants and that shock can provide them with an increased level of stress. It can also cause them to become more outspoken and put them into a position of risk when it comes to added drug and alcohol use to handle the changes.
Coping with Change
The dramatic changes in the patient’s body can also cause the patient to feel as though everyone around them is treating them differently. If the patient had been obese throughout most of their life, they may not know how to deal with the various ways that people treat them after the surgery.
These individuals might be at greater risk of expressing addictive behavior in order to deal with the pressure they suddenly feel from the friends and family surrounding them. It is believed that patients are the most vulnerable at the two year mark after their surgery and they are susceptible to emotions that they don’t know how to deal with. This makes them more likely to express those addictive behaviors.
Detection Prior to Surgery – The link between the weight loss surgeries and an increase in addictive behavior may be vital to those patients coming into the program. It is important that the physicians explore the reasons that patients are in need of the surgery to begin with.
They may find that there is a need to use food as a crutch for other issues. This would allow them to help the patient through these issues as well as deal with the weight loss issues.
There are unfortunately a number of situations where substance abuse can help. Unfortunately, weight loss surgery can lead to some types of substance abuse problems and you need to be aware of this.
If you or someone you know has just undergone weight loss surgery and is now experiencing symptoms that indicate substance abuse, now is the time to reach out for help.
The right type of substance abuse treatment facility is going to provide you or your loved one with a targeted attempt to overcome the substance’s hold on the body so that everyone can move forward happily and healthily. The help that you seek really is just around the corner waiting for your call, so reach out today.