Alcoholism after Weight Loss Surgery
As weight loss surgery patients, we often times struggle with food addiction. This is something you see a lot in the bariatric community so it is important that we talk about it. Addiction is serious and it is important that you understand that we have a higher chance of becoming addicted to substances as bariatric patients. Food addiction is not the only thing we can suffer with, so let’s explore that today. Alcoholism is an addiction that we are susceptible to as bariatric patients. This is because it is so much easier to drink than eat, so bariatric patients often substitute food addiction for alcohol addition. After surgery, we absorb alcohol differently. It is so much easier to become intoxicated than it was before surgery. Often times one drink can cause you to feel extremely intoxicated. Some surgeons suggest that you do not put alcohol back into your diet, while others say just to wait until the 1-year mark. Make sure that you discuss this with your surgeon to ensure you are staying safe after surgery. I chose not to drink for many years after my surgery. However, I now have the occasional glass of wine and can control myself well with how much I drink. If you do decide to put alcohol back into your life, take the time to understand your new body and how it reacts to alcohol.
If you believe alcohol will be a trigger for you, do not put it back into your diet. You must also be careful with the sugar content. Some drinks out there have way too much sugar for bariatric patients, so they should be avoided. I remember there was one time I had two sugary alcoholic beverages and they made me extremely sick. Dumping syndrome can come from drinking too much alcohol, especially if the drinks are full of sugar. The last thing you want is to feel too intoxicated and go through dumping syndrome at the same time.
Remember, this is a lifestyle change so you must make positive changes in your life. Be careful with alcohol and look for signs of addiction. If you notice signs, talk to someone about it and take the steps needed to get help. Do not be ashamed of yourself. You are strong and you can overcome addiction with the help of your support group. Take the time to understand why you are turning to alcohol. This is just as much of an emotional journey as it is a physical journey. Do not let the power of addiction overpower you. You got this!
- Kimberly H.