Addiction Substitutions After Weight Loss Surgery

As a bariatric patient, it is critical that you educate yourself on things to look out for after surgery. One of those things to educate yourself on is addiction. Weight loss surgery patients typically struggle with food addiction. After bariatric surgery, patients must give up that addiction if they want to be successful. It can be very challenging to do this, especially if you have spent your entire life having this addiction. Food addiction is serious and if you do not take this surgery seriously, the addiction will take over and you will experience regain. You must learn to let go of food and find healthy ways to cope through difficult times. 


One thing you must be aware of after surgery is that some patients substitute one addiction for another. Since we are no longer able to eat as much at a time, it makes binging harder for us. Due to this, some patients turn to other substances. The most common substance patients turn to is alcohol. Research shows that bariatric patients are at risk of becoming alcoholics. Since it is easier to drink than eat, consuming alcohol is relatively easy for us. Some surgeons suggest that you should never put alcohol back into your diet, while others say to wait at least 18 months after surgery. Everyone has different experiences and beliefs on what is best, but it is important that you educate yourself on this topic. 

If you are struggling with an addiction, you must look deeper to figure out why you are turning to a substance. The surgery is just a tool and will not fix the issues that you have mentally or emotionally. If you struggle with a food addiction, try reaching out to support groups and therapists to help you through it. Turning to another substance will only create more destructive behaviors. Since you more than likely have an addictive personality, try finding something healthy to substitute your food addiction with. Working out can be a tool that you replace food with. You must be careful with becoming obsessed with it, but it can be a healthy substitution. 

Addiction is serious and cannot be avoided. As a bariatric patient, be aware of the dispositions you have and consider the risks before adding in another substance to replace food. You are in control of your life. Don’t ever forget that. This is your time to get healthy.  Take advantage of this surgery and use it as momentum to help you get healthy in all aspects of your life. You got this!

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