Dealing with Weight Loss and Drug Addiction

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

Drug addiction often results in many undesirable consequences that affect a person in multiple ways, including physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Some of the side effects of drug addiction are more apparent than others, and the more obvious signs are perhaps seen through physical changes.

It is not uncommon for a person’s weight to change drastically as a result of a drug addiction.

How Weight Loss Occurs During Drug Addiction

Weight loss can result from inadequate nutrition and poor food intake, which can happen as an individual becomes fixated and dependent on a drug or substance. Sustaining adequate food intake becomes more difficult for a person who is more concerned about having a fix of a drug or getting high.

The danger comes from a lack of nutrition, which can result not only in weight loss but also in a compromise of health and wellness. Severe weight loss can lead to:

  • Anorexia
  • Malnutrition
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Cognitive abnormalities
  • Bone loss
  • Hormonal imbalances

If you or someone you love has suffered from weight loss, it is crucial to address the root of the problem. Persisting in an addiction to drugs will only worsen the problem. Seeking out professional help and treatment will help resolve not only weight loss and malnutrition but any underlying issues that contributed to the development of an addiction to drugs.

Nutritional Rehabilitation During Rehabilitation

descent-841413_640Treatment for a drug addiction commonly includes nutritional rehabilitation. As a person is weaned off a drug, appetite improves and eating becomes normalized again. Learning to eating normal, balanced meals once again can only happen when an addiction to drugs is appropriately addressed and dealt with.

Incorporating the care of a multidisciplinary health care team, including a medical team, registered dietitian, psychotherapist/counselor, can help an individual finding healing from the many complicated effects that result from an addiction to drugs. If you are suffering with weight loss resulting from a drug addiction, be sure to reach out for the help you need to begin your recovery today.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you or someone you love struggled with weight loss as a result of a drug addiction? If so, what were some approaches you utilized in recovery to help address this concern? What encouragement might you offer to someone who is dealing with a similar situation?

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