Alcohol and Bariatric Surgery

Apr 26, 2018
untitledWhether you have had bariatric surgery or you are considering it, you need to know the risks involved with consumption of alcohol You may see this and think "no way, not me." However, alcohol use disorder is on the rise in this population. Research leads us to believe that patients undergoing or patients that have undergone the gastric bypass procedure are at the greatest risk for this addiction. When bypassing the stomach and part of the small intestine, the small intestine absorbs alcohol more quickly and the blood alcohol level rises quickly.
Unfortunately, you are not off the hook if you have had the gastric sleeve or gastric band procedure. The reason behind this is because anyone undergoing bariatric surgery is at risk for something we call "transfer addiction." Basically, a patient goes from being addicted to food and to transferring that addiction to alcohol, drugs, spending money, etc. It is unpredictable, however there are some increased risk factors associated with the development of transfer addiction. Those risk factors include: a history of eating disorders, food addiction or compulsive eating, a family history of substance abuse, regular consumption of alcohol prior to bariatric surgery, a history of chronic pain/overuse of narcotics for pain management, a history of depression and other mood or anxiety disorders, a lack of adequate support or feeling isolated, an avoidance of emotions and experiences, or a history of engaging in self-sabotaging tendencies.
It is important to remember that the goal of bariatric surgery is to improve overall health. Consuming alcohol after bariatric surgery may negatively impact vitamin and mineral status, liver function, and weight loss.

Questions or concerns? Emily Kohls
South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center on Facebook