June 1, 2023

Bariatric surgery is no doubt one of the most effective weight loss programs but it is not a quick fix. Hence it requires commitment and conviction as it is a long-term process that ensures long-term success. Besides adopting a healthier lifestyle along with good nutrition and exercise, you also need to get rid of alcohol or any other substance abuse for healthy weight management. California weight loss clinic here highlights how substance use can affect your weight loss journey. Following are some of the things that you should be wary of in relation to substance abuse before and after your weight loss.


Alcohol and Weight Loss Surgery

Most people considering the weight loss program are often curious about whether alcohol can be used before and after the procedure. You can no doubt drink alcohol with safety measures but there are always some risks associated with it. Some of the most common health issues related to using alcohol after bariatric surgery are


  • Liver damage
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Ulcers
  • Weight Regain


It has been found that the majority of people who undergo bariatric surgery are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. Alcohol is one such drink that is absorbed very quickly but breaks down very slowly in people who undergo the weight loss procedure. As a result, the chances of developing health concerns due to drinking are higher.


If you are a habitual drinker then before you begin your weight management program, you will have to cut down the rate of your alcohol intake. Even your healthcare provider who will walk you through the journey of weight loss will advise you to quit drinking two weeks prior to the surgery in order to reduce the risk of the surgery.


It is best for your health to permanently quit the consumption of alcohol. If not then you must refrain from using alcohol for at least 6 months post-surgery. It is to ensure that enough time is given for healing and the body adjusts to the smaller stomach. Alcohols are high in calories and can cause you to eat more than you intend to and reduce inhibition. So it is best to avoid drinking alcohol for a longer duration.


Smoking /Tobacco and Weight Loss Surgery

There is an increased risk for mortality during the weight loss surgery for individuals who are habitual smokers or use tobacco and other substances that are inhaled. Even during the recovery from the surgery, there is a high chance of developing infection or ulcers. Just as with alcohol, if you are addicted to smoking or any other tobacco products which include e-cigarettes, hookah, etc then you will have to quit it two weeks prior to the surgery.  You will even be required to go through a urine test to ensure that you are clean.


If required, your doctor will even suggest and recommend certain programs that will help you in overcoming your addiction. Post-surgery as well, it is best to avoid using tobacco as the risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular disease is highly increased.


Marijuana /Other Substance Abuse and Weight Loss Surgery

The use of marijuana and other substances, be it recreational drugs or even prescription drug abuse, after you undergo bariatric surgery there is an increased risk of developing several complications for your health which include stroke and heart disease. If you have been using such substances even occasionally then you will have to discontinue doing so at least 6 months prior to the surgery. A screening will be done prior to the surgery which you must pass. To help you overcome the addiction, your doctor may recommend certain programs.


In case, if you are on these prescriptions as prescribed by a doctor due to certain health conditions then it is better to use it in other forms rather than inhaling it or smoking it. As far as possible it is best to discontinue the use of alcohol or any other substance abuse post bariatric surgery.


How to Avoid Alcohol Use or Substance Abuse after Bariatric Surgery?


It is important to have a serious table talk between the doctor and the patient regarding substance abuse. Besides discussing the life-changing surgical options, the doctors must make the patient understand the psychological changes that might be responsible for inclining them towards substance abuse.

Most patients tend to take the changes they will undergo very lightly. However, rapid weight loss, saggy skin, and the risk of regaining weight might have a great impact on their confidence level. It might lead to the development of maladaptive behaviors and might adversely affect their life in every respect. In an attempt to re-enforce their self-esteem, the individual might restart substance abuse.