Will my weight loss surgery make me an alcoholic? (VIDEO)

When I made the decision to get my gastric bypass surgery in early 2009, I had spent a few pretty intense months reading everything that I could about the weight loss surgery procedure. I devoured any book devoted to the subject, visited online forums to talk to people who have had the procedure recently and even found a couple real-life examples of what life would be like after the bariatric surgery.

I considered a lot of the possible consequences and side effects of the surgery as well. The one thing that I never considered was the possibility of developing alcohol addiction as a result of the gastric bypass procedure. But apparently that's actually a very real possibility for me and the countless others who get weight loss surgery every year.  But why?!


Read more ¿Qué más? Why I chose gastric bypass over a lap band

A new study conducted by the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is adding to the "mounting evidence" of there being a very real link between people who have the popular gastric bypass surgery and the symptoms of alcohol-use disorders.

Apparently it all boils down to two things: you become less sensitive to alcohol and, thus, your risk of alcohol dependence can grow. As social-drinker-turned-alcoholic Andrew Kahn explains, "it wears off so quickly so you can keep going and going." I have to say: I definitely know exactly what he means because I've felt the effects of getting drunk fast and getting sober faster. According to the study, 1 in 10 people who have a gastric bypass develop alcoholism symptoms by their second year post-surgery.

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Those are really scary odds to me. They're made even scarier by the fact that I do enjoy the occasional drink and I have definitely noticed myself drinking more these days than I did before my surgery. In the past, I attributed it to the fact that I was looking good and feeling great, and thus wanting to go out and have fun with my friends more (since I had a boost in confidence). Perhaps I'm wrong about that, though. If there's one thing I definitely don't want to be in this life is an alcoholic.

Now that I know that I'm actually at a real risk of developing alcoholism, thanks to the very surgery that helped save my life (and health), I think I need to seriously cut back. As Andrew puts it, "if I was given the choice between being obese and becoming an alcoholic, I would have thought about [my decision] more." I'll definitely be thinking about it a LOT now.

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Have you ever known anyone who developed alcoholism after weight loss surgery? What would you do if you were in this situation? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: overweight  weight loss  alcoholism