Dealing with Weight Gain in Rehab

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Rehabilitation from substance abuse addiction involves many different steps as a person journeys through the process of recovery. Because addiction impacts a person in a multitude of ways, recovery efforts require addressing the many different aspects of an individual, including their health, mental wellness, emotionality and more.

One key component of treatment focuses on helping a person recover physically, addressing the many medical complications that may have resulted from substance abuse addiction.

Nutritional Restoration

Medical stabilization and nutritional restoration occur over time and through conscientious choices and efforts. Typically led by a professional treatment team who specializes in addiction recovery, and the individual may find themselves going through many changes as their body is healed and restores.

One such change may be weight fluctuations, including weight gain through the rehabilitation process for substance abuse and addiction.

Discomfort from Weight Gain

Depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction, a person may find that their weight increases while undergoing the process of rehabilitation. This can cause a person some physical discomfort as the body adapts to changes that are brought about from detoxification and withdrawal.

person-822552_640Weight gain can result from fluid and nutrient imbalances, hormonal changes, metabolism adjustments and more. Weight gain can be temporary as the body makes adjustments from no longer being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Carefully Monitoring the Rehabilitation Process

The rehabilitation process is something that should be carefully monitored under a treatment team to assess for any medical complications or physical compromises. Weight gain may or may not be indicative of other more severe issues, so it is important for professionals to be part of the detoxing process.

The physical changes that a person endures through substance abuse rehabilitation are often temporary. While theses effects can be uncomfortable, remember that being under the influence of drugs and alcohol compromised the body and healing is necessary for recovery. Having a strong support system can help you or a loved one endure the difficult process of rehabilitation.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Did you struggle with weight gain through the process of recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol? If so, how did this affect your recovery journey? How did you work through some of the temporary discomforts you may have experienced along the way?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 8th, 2015
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