Substance Use

Alcohol & Weight Gain: Signs of Addiction & More

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Is Weight Gain a Sign of Alcohol Addiction?

Drinking alcohol is a common practice in many parts of the world, and it can positively and negatively impact our health. But when alcohol consumption becomes excessive or uncontrolled, it can lead to addiction and serious health problems, such as weight gain. This comprehensive overview will discuss how alcohol affects body weight, what signs of addiction to look for, and more. 

If you’re worried about your drinking habits or those of friends or family members, keep reading to learn all the essential information you need to know about alcohol use and its effects on body weight.

Worried about alcohol dependency? At Zinnia Health, we specialize in treating substance abuse, and our compassionate and knowledgeable staff will provide the care you need to turn things around. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, reach out to us today by calling our drug abuse hotline at (855) 430-9439.

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How Does Alcohol Use Affect a Person’s Weight?

Alcohol use can cause both weight gain and loss.

1. Weight Gain

Alcohol abuse, weight gain, and obesity are linked in many ways. Even if within the recommended moderate drinking guidelines, drinking can increase caloric intake and decrease energy expenditure, as alcohol is high in calories with no nutritional value.

Also, people who drink heavily often eat more than they usually would due to the stimulant effects of alcohol, which can temporarily mask feelings of hunger and fullness.

Drinking heavily can affect the body’s hormone levels, causing an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone) and a decrease in leptin (the fullness hormone). This change in hormones can cause cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain.

Over time, heavy alcohol use can lead to liver damage, which can cause problems with digestion and metabolism that may contribute to weight gain.

2. Weight Loss

Chronic alcohol use can also cause people to be underweight. This is because alcohol affects the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients, which can lead to inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, heavy drinkers often forget to eat or don’t have enough money for food due to their spending on alcohol.

What Are Some Reasons Weight Gain is Common During Treatment for an Alcohol Addiction?

Weight gain during treatment for an alcohol use disorder can occur for various reasons. For many, cutting back on drinking can lead to increased hunger and food intake as the body adjusts to not having alcohol as a source of calories.

Some medications used to treat alcohol use disorder affect the brain’s reward system and can cause cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods, leading to weight gain. Finally, many people in early recovery find it difficult to exercise due to fatigue or depression, and this lack of activity can also cause weight gain.

What Are Some Strategies to Avoid Weight Gain During Alcohol Rehab Treatment?

It’s important to remember that weight gain is a common side effect of treatment for an alcohol use disorder, but there are steps you can take to manage it. Eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and talking to a healthcare professional are all effective strategies for managing weight gain during treatment.

The most important thing is to focus on your recovery from alcohol use disorder and not be discouraged by any possible weight gain. With time and effort, you can make progress not only in your recovery but also in reaching a healthy weight.

At Zinnia Health, we understand the difficulty of breaking free from an alcohol substance use disorder. If you or a loved one is ready to take the first step towards sobriety, pick up the phone and call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

What Are 3 Warning Signs That Someone Has an Alcohol Abuse Problem?

Three warning signs that someone has an alcohol abuse problem are:

  1. They drink more and more frequently, sometimes even drinking alone.
  2. They often experience blackouts or memory loss after drinking.
  3. They are unable to limit their intake of alcohol and experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and tremors when they try to cut back or quit drinking altogether.

How Do You Know if You Have an Alcohol Abuse Problem?

If you have an alcohol abuse problem, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Binge drinking
  • Feelings of guilt or shame after drinking
  • Loss of control over how much and when you drink
  • Problems at work, school, or home due to drinking
  • Struggles with relationships and friendships due to alcohol use
  • Financial problems caused by excessive spending on alcohol
  • Angry outbursts or feelings of anxiety, restlessness, or irritability when not drinking
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, tremors, sweating, and nausea when cutting back or quitting drinking
  • Continuing to drink despite knowing it is causing physical or mental health problems
  • Behavioral changes

What Are the Risks of Untreated Alcohol Addiction?

The risks associated with untreated alcohol addiction include damage to both physical and mental health.

Physically, heavy drinking can lead to medical conditions such as:

Mentally, untreated alcohol addiction can lead to:

  • Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
  • Impaired judgment or decision-making
  • Cognitive decline or dementia
  • Memory loss
  • A higher risk of suicide

What Are Some Ways You Can Help Someone Struggling With Alcohol Addiction?

If you know someone struggling with alcohol addiction, there are a few ways to help.

  1. Provide emotional support and be an understanding listener. It can also be helpful to create a safe environment for the person to talk about their addiction without judgment or criticism.
  2. Provide resources such as information about treatment programs to show that help is available. You can also accompany the person to appointments or meetings with healthcare professionals to provide emotional support and encouragement.
  3. Encourage healthy habits, such as exercise, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol addiction, Zinnia Health can provide much-needed relief. We offer inpatient and outpatient facilities and group counseling sessions, which can provide the necessary support for long-term recovery. To learn more about our treatment options, please call our 24/7 helpline at (855) 430-9439.

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