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Alcohol and Weight Loss Surgery

Alcohol can have a strong effect on virtually anyone, regardless of age or size. However, new studies show that people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery for weight loss fail to metabolize alcohol as effectively as they did prior to surgery, increasing their risk for intoxication, and possibly alcohol addiction.

During gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is reduced to the size of a small pouch, reducing the amount of food that is absorbed when it passes through the body. Studies were performed by having the patient digest a glass of wine within a minute, then using a breathalyzer to determine the level of effect the alcohol has on the person. Before surgery, the average breath alcohol level was approximately 0.024 percent. After surgery, the average increased to 0.088 percent, which is above the legal driving limit. The study also showed that instead of the 49 minutes it generally took to eliminate one glass of wine from the system, 88 minutes was the average length of time it took post-surgery. This means that not only would patients feel the effects of a small amount of alcohol much faster, but would feel it for twice as long.

The effects of alcohol on a person who has undergone gastric bypass surgery could be potentially dangerous. Because these people tend to feel alcohol much more easily, they could become more dependent on the euphoric feeling that alcohol provides since it is acquired much more quickly, and lasts longer. This could increase their risk for alcohol addiction, as the good feeling they receive lasts longer in their body. While 8 of 10 patients reported feeling some effect of a glass of wine prior to surgery, 10 out of 10 felt the effects post-surgery. This shows that some people, who may not have been affected by a small amount before, are now able to feel it more quickly. These new effects could open the doors to alcohol addiction.

Vista Taos Addiction Center is located in beautiful Taos, New Mexico. It offers support for those effected by alcohol addiction, and can assist those who have undergone weight loss surgery with their alcohol dependence before it takes over their lives. Contact a counselor today to learn how Vista Taos can help you.

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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos is our top priority. Each person admitted to our program will be given a PCR Covid screen upon entry and subsequently will follow our isolation protocol as we await the results.
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