Person wondering about the link between gastric bypass and alcoholism

What Is the Link Between Gastric Bypass Surgery and Alcoholism?

It is no secret that Americans struggle with obesity at higher rates than almost any other country. Recent statistics indicate over 40% of American adults are obese. Numerous weight loss programs, diet pills, and medical advice target this population of Americans. And it is a concern because obesity is linked to various health issues.  

One more radical solution that many people consider or pursue is gastric bypass surgery when diet and exercise are insufficient to achieve their weight loss goals. However, one major downside of gastric bypass surgery is that it leaves people at a higher risk of alcoholism. Most people have no clue that gastric bypass and alcoholism are connected in this way. Contact Recovery Ranch PA at 717.969.9126 to learn more about addiction therapy options you can take advantage of if you or someone you know seeks to overcome alcoholism. 

What Is a Gastric Bypass? 

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of surgery that is specifically designed to help people lose weight. It accomplishes this by directly connecting a small piece of the stomach to the small intestine. Following the bypass, food travels straight to this pouch, then the small intestine. This means it avoids most of the stomach and small intestine.  

This type of surgery is one of many options recommended to people. Instead, gastric bypass surgery is pursued after other methods have been tried and failed. Diet and exercise always come first. If those do not work, in cases of severe obesity, gastric bypass becomes a possibility. This is particularly true for people with health issues directly connected to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or severe sleep apnea. 

The Link Between Gastric Bypass and Alcoholism 

Gastric bypass essentially accomplishes what it is meant to. Most people experience the desired weight loss and are better able to control their eating habits because of this surgery. But gastric bypass is not entirely risk-free. This type of surgery leaves people in danger of an alcohol use disorder. It is important to note upfront that this risk is not a certainty. But it is a danger people should be aware of. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 5 people who get gastric bypass surgery later develop an alcohol use disorder. That rate is about three times that of the general population. 

The connection between gastric bypass and alcoholism comes back to how this surgery physically alters the body and modifies how the body releases certain hormones. The hormones in question relate to hunger and how the body rewards eating. People who get gastric bypass also seem to metabolize alcohol differently after their surgery. It takes less to get drunk and longer to sober up.  

The last link between gastric bypass and alcoholism is found in the concept of addiction transfer. Gastric bypass solves a physical issue. But it does nothing to address a deep-seated emotional or psychological problem that might have influenced someone’s overeating behavior. In the absence of overeating, someone may take up drinking behavior as a replacement.  

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship to Alcohol After Gastric Bypass 

Consider implementing these tips to avoid struggling with alcoholism following gastric bypass: 

  • Address negative drinking behavior before surgery 
  • Reintroduce drinking gradually after surgery, paying close attention to if you metabolize it differently than before surgery 
  • Access therapy to deal with underlying emotional or psychological issues linked to overeating 
  • Be open with loved ones about the link between gastric bypass and alcoholism so that they can support you 

Now that you know there’s a link between gastric bypass and alcoholism, you may wonder how to maintain a healthy relationship after surgery. After all, the answer to knowing this link is not to avoid gastric bypass altogether. Many people still need this procedure to protect their health.  

Find Help for Alcoholism After Gastric Bypass Surgery at Recovery Ranch PA 

Do you need help with alcoholism or another substance abuse disorder? Contact Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 to learn more about how Recovery Ranch PA comprehensively addresses substance abuse. 

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