There are many benefits to breaking free from addiction; some may rebuild relationships, save their lives from fatal overdose or prevent spending money on substances. However, the most important benefit associated with sobriety is a greater protection of personal health. Through addiction recovery, many find solutions to not only improve mental health, but also restore physical wellness. If you are struggling with personal health issues—particularly weight gain—and are abusing drugs or alcohol; chances are the two issues could be connected.
In previous posts, we have discussed how many individuals who suffer from eating disorders will engage in substance abuse as a way to aid weight loss. However, many others may find that addiction can unintentionally contribute to weight gain, which in turn, may lead to obesity, heart problems, heightened diabetes risk and other weight-related health conditions. Here are a few ways this can happen:
- Alcoholism Derails the Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat
If you are a regular drinker—or even a casual social drinker—you may be contributing to weight gain. While just a beverage, many alcoholic drinks have calories that can increase the body’s weight over time. In addition, many alcoholics may experience increased hunger while under the influence—especially those who indulge in drinking in social settings like restaurants or bars.
Over time, alcoholics may find themselves drained and unable to function on a day-to-day basis; this pattern makes it much more difficult to follow a healthy diet or stay regular with fitness. As a result, the body does not get the attention it needs to stay fit and burn calories in a natural, healthy fashion.
- Drugs That Contribute to Weight Gain
When people think of weight gain, they may commonly associate it with increased appetite. Although there are many drugs—such as cocaine and stimulants—that can reduce appetite, other drugs can increase hunger. The most common example of this is the effect of cannabis, as it often leads to cravings in those who use the drug. Frequent marijuana users or addicts may find that over time these increased cravings will lead to excessive weight gain.
For other illicit drugs, such as opiates, the effects can be different on every person. While painkillers may not increase appetite, they are known to lower metabolism in some users and cause a severe lack of energy. As a result, individuals abusing opiates may find that they are gaining weight and losing shape due to a sharp decline in physical activity.
- Mental Health Conditions and Addiction Troubles that Increase Weight Gain
At Chapters Capistrano, we have found that a wide variety of individuals suffering from addiction are also conflicted with mental health conditions. When these problems occur at the same time, it can be hard for a person to escape the cycle without treating both. If both issues continue, the addict will experience many negative effects—including those that impact weight gain.
For example, individuals that engage in substance abuse and experience depression may find that their bodies decline in healthy weight due to lack of energy and motivation to exercise. Depression and stress—commonly linked to substance abuse—may also encourage individuals to find comfort in eating; if this problems grows out of control, weight gain is a likely side effect.
Find Improved Health at Chapters Capistrano
At Chapters Capistrano, our professional staff is not only committed to helping our guests through detox, withdrawal and addiction recovery treatment; we are also dedicated to encouraging a new level of fitness and appreciation of personal health.
With several wellness initiatives, nutritional meals and flexible treatment, Chapters Capistrano provides a welcoming environment to help those who are afflicted with addiction and weight gain. To start making a journey to a better you today, please contact us at 949-276-2886.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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