Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of Americans every day. It is a condition that can alter a person’s state of mind and it does not discriminate. Another disease that does not discriminate is obesity. Obesity is another disease that affects millions of Americans as well. Many now resort to having surgery to help combat their weight loss problems. However, now we are seeing that there might be a link in patients that have had weight loss
surgery and alcoholism. Is there really a correlation between the two?
Weight Loss Surgery
Though diet and exercise are still the best ways for people to have sustainable weight loss, some people need a little extra push. Many people are now able to have surgery to help aid their weight loss. There are two main types of surgery that people can get. Neither of these plans will help with what a person actually eats and it is important to remember that the patient will still need a healthier diet to see better results.
- Gastric Banding: In this type of surgery, there is a silicone band with an inflatable color put around the upper stomach to restrict food. This will slow down the food from reaching the lower belly and allows patients to feel full much faster so that they will stop eating. Patients will have the option to loosen or tighten the ring when they need to.
- Gastric Bypass: In this type of surgery the patient is usually put to sleep while surgeons operate on their stomach. Depending on the type of gastric surgery they are having, parts of your stomach may or may not be removed. It is important that patients figure out which type of surgery fits in their lifestyle.
Rise in Alcoholism
Since patients who have surgery usually have their stomach reduced and intestines shortened, researchers are looking into the fact that this not only helps you eat less, but it can lead to an alcohol use problem. At first many were wondering if the cause was because the distraction of food was taken away, so people were looking for a new distraction. However, it is now believed that it has more to do with the fact that the alcohol is now absorbed faster because of the changes to the organs. Researchers now argue that the higher absorption rate is what is making the alcohol more addictive. Currently researchers have only been able to find a correlation between increased alcoholism and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. It is not known if there are adverse reactions with the other surgery options as well.
As with any disease it is important to get help as quickly as you can. However, the signs of alcohol abuse can be hidden very easily especially if the patient was a social drinker before the surgery. It is important to understand that alcohol is a disease that can have very negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental health. They can develop liver problems and even have trouble performing their day-to-day duties. Alcoholism currently costs the United States between $40 to $60 billion dollars to treat. If you think that you or someone you know might have a problem, then it is important to look for the symptoms. Are there cravings outside of the norm? Is there an inability to limit the drinking to certain occasions or is it increasing daily? Are there physical problems that occur if alcohol has not been ingested after a few days? Finally, is there a sign of higher tolerance before the effects of the drinks start to show? If there are any of these signs, then it is important to talk to the doctor immediately and find out what the best course of action will be.