Are you aware that substance abuse can see an individual become obese?

Did you know that obesity plays a large role in whether an individual becomes addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs?

Although much research has determined that substance abuse can give rise to a wealth of mental health disorders, many individuals are left unaware of the relationship between substance abuse and obesity.

In order to examine the relationship between substance abuse and obesity, we have delved into how substance abuse contributes to obesity and how obesity contributes to substance abuse here.


What Causes Substance Abuse and Obesity?

Prior to examining the relationship between substance abuse and obesity, it is essential to understand the causes of substance abuse and obesity.

Various factors contribute to the probability that an individual will abuse substances or struggle with obesity. However, the main factors include mental health disorders, lifestyle choices, genetics and stress.

For example, mental health disorders are widely known to increase an individual’s odds of abusing substances.  This is because many people will turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate the ramifications that a mental health disorder has on them.  Others may develop eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, and as a result, become obese.

In a similar way that mental health disorders will put individuals at risk of substance abuse and obesity, stress and lifestyle choices will too.

Although not always taken into consideration, genetics additionally play a large role in whether an individual will abuse substances and struggle with obesity at some point in their life.

Some people are more likely to be obese due to genetics, as well as more likely to develop an addiction.


How Does Substance Abuse Contribute To Obesity?

In recent years, many studies have been carried out to determine the relationship between substance abuse and obesity in an attempt to uncover how substance abuse contributes to obesity.

One of the most prevalent findings is that consuming even small quantities of drugs and alcohol can activate brain signals which put the body into starvation mode.

As the brain sends various signals to the body, those under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to consume significant quantities of food.  This ultimately results in overconsumption of foods that often have no nutritional value.  In turn, weight gain is almost unavoidable.

Furthermore, substance abuse can also contribute to obesity as regular substance consumption can impair an individual’s metabolism. In fact, research confirms that those who abuse substances are 60% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

As defined by the NHS, metabolic syndrome is the medical term used when an individual suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Although there is a wealth of factors that contribute to the likelihood that an individual will become obese, it is clear to see how substance abuse could contribute to obesity.


How Does Obesity Contribute To Substance Abuse?

Just as mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, can cause an individual to become addicted to substances, obesity can too.  This is because obesity can essentially have pessimistic ramifications on an individual’s mental health.

In order to alleviate said ramifications, individuals are likely to turn to substances, including drugs and alcohol.  As short-term relief is obtained from substances, individuals will eventually become somewhat reliant on drugs and alcohol, leading to the development of substance abuse and addictions.


What Support Is Available To Individuals Struggling With Substance Abuse and Obesity?

Should you find yourself struggling with the relationship between substance abuse and obesity, there is a wealth of support available for you to take advantage of via the NHS and private rehab hospitals and hospitals across the United Kingdom.

Typically, as and when the time is right for you to acquire help, you will find that treatment such as detoxification and psychological therapy will firstly look to alleviate your struggles with substance abuse.

As you progress through treatment, you will be encouraged to consider the factors that have caused your relationship with substances to arise.  In some instances, obesity may be the main factor.

If this is the case, therapy will help you to understand why obesity has led you to turn to substances.  Therapy will also see you develop various coping mechanisms that will reduce your risk of relapsing in the future.

If your relationship with substance abuse has caused you to become obese, the treatment provided by a drug and alcohol rehab, or the NHS, will help you navigate the ramifications that your relationship with substances has had on your health.


Why Is Professional Support Essential?

Having addressed the relationship between substance abuse and obesity, it is clear to see that there is a strong correlation between the two.  Substance abuse puts many at risk of becoming obese, while obesity causes others to turn to substances as a form of relief.

As touched on above, the support that is available to individuals struggling with substance abuse and obesity can ultimately alleviate the ramifications that are often felt.

However, failure to secure treatment could see you to experience a number of health conditions such as heart disease, liver disease and organ failure.  You may also be at risk of suffering from a stroke.  Left untreated, these conditions will eventually impair the overall quality of your life.

Although you may feel somewhat apprehensive about seeking treatment for substance abuse and obesity, doing so is imperative.


Contact Us Today

If you are struggling with an addiction, or have begun to experience the various side effects of substance abuse and unhealthy eating habits, get in contact with our team today.

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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 8, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.