Do Weight Loss Surgeries Increase The Risk Of Alcoholism?

by Bridget on June 23, 2012

Everyone knows that the United States of America is facing an obesity epidemic. Being obese can have many different health risks associated with it including diabetes, heart disease, and other issues. In response to this issue, many people turn to exercise and healthier eating habits. This is by far the best and most healthy way to lose weight. However, in today’s society, instant gratification is the name of the game. This is why many people are opting for dangerous surgeries to help them lose weight. These surgeries are invasive and can lead to potential health issues down the road. Researchers now believe that these types of surgeries can lead to another surprising affect; alcoholism.


Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in the United States of America, and affects millions of people every single year. Alcoholism can have terrible consequences on a person’s life, and can lead to many different problems down the road. Without the help of a medical intervention, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for individuals to stop drinking on their own. According to a new survey conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, which surveyed over 2,000 overweight individuals who underwent gastric bypass surgery, 50% of individuals who underwent weight loss surgeries developed drinking problems. Lead researched Mary King says, “There have been several studies showing if you give gastric bypass patients a standard amount of alcohol, they reach a higher peak alcohol level, they reach the level more quickly, and they take longer to return to a sober state. They’re experiencing alcohol differently after surgery.”

Weight Loss

There are a number of reasons why people who undergo weight loss surgeries turn to alcohol in the aftermath of their dramatic weight loss. First, obesity is often times caused by an addiction to eating. By getting rid of their ability to consume large amounts of food, doctors are letting patients turn to other avenues, such as drinking, to satisfy their addictive personalities. Since a person is not used to their new weight level, they drink more than they need to do receive the pleasurable effects of alcohol. This leads many people who have lost an extreme amount of weight develop a new and more dangerous addiction.

If a person develops a sever addiction to alcohol, they are going to need a medical intervention to stop. There are very serious and dangerous effects that a person can encounter when they try to stop drinking cold turkey. Without a medical detox performed under the supervision of medical professionals, a person can actually die from withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is so incredibly important for individuals suffering from an addiction to alcohol to seek immediate help from an alcohol abuse treatment program. While it is certainly commendable that people want to take control of their weight problems, it is not always a good idea to opt for surgery as a first option. Healthy diet and exercise can do wonders to help individuals shed weight, and to avoid developing dangerous addictions to drugs and alcohol.

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