Holy Smokes! You Need Booze!


The coffee's not even ready yet and I think we can call off the contest for "most obvious revelation of the day."

For an emerging number of weight-loss surgery patients, giving up comfort food means guzzling Southern Comfort.

Or hitting the mall instead of McDonald's, even though creditors are calling.

Researchers call this behavioral shift "addiction transfer," which means swapping one compulsive act, such as overeating, with another in an attempt to numb emotions or fill an inner void. And mental-health experts say that because bariatric procedures have become more common — and patients more candid — they're seeing increased cases of alcoholism, obsessive shopping, gambling and promiscuity.

Others may use this as an opportunity to inveigh against all bariatric surgeries, but not me. I'll just point out that obesity surgery sites seem to have plenty of modestly obese (like 200-300 pound) patients whose health problems aren't comparable to the dangerously obese patients the surgery was dreamed up for.

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  1. I recently read a book called “The Hunger Years.” I think the author was William Leith. Anyway, it was sort of a book length treatment of this kind of thing from an autobiographical prespective.

    I actually found the book helpful in a self help kind of way. I joined a gym after I read it and have been going regularly. I have lost weight.

    Recommended. The book makes some connections on this front that are not particularly obvious.

  2. they’re seeing increased cases of alcoholism, obsessive shopping, gambling and promiscuity.

    I don’t know, sounds like a good time to me…

  3. So…fat people are really drunks replacing scotch with ice cream? And bariatric surgery- in addition to make them lose weight – turns them back into drunks?


  4. Well since they have less food in their stomachs, at least that means they’re cheap drunks.

  5. This isn’t the slightest bit surprising to me. Even though I tend to fall into all my addictions at once instead of replacing one with the other.

    I usually spend several months in ascetic mode followed by a month of complete libertinism; kind of a guilt/glut cycle. I don’t recommend it.

  6. I would think half the reason you would have the surgery is so you can be promiscuous.

  7. Bariatric surgery leads to increased promiscuity?

    I smell an ad campaign!

  8. This makes perfect sense from the theory that excessive use of soothing behaviors (drugs, shopping, TV, MMORPGs, sex, etc.) are symptomatic of a brain chemistry deficit rather than some chronic moral failing or a “special” addictive quality of a given substance or behavior. For this theory to hold true, replacement behavior like this would have to follow in the absense of psychopharmacologicals or behavior pattern modification like biofeedback, hypnosis, EMDR, “life-changing epiphany”, etc.

    The theory holds for the smoker who comfortably quits while taking bupropion or the regular pot smoke who spontaneously quits after starting a fulfilling full-time job (a replacement behavior of a sort). (Both are phenomenon that I’ve witnessed a few times. Not exactly a statistically valid number of times, though.)

  9. I’m sure if we just keep passing laws banning things and making government bigger, we’ll hit the solution eventually.

  10. Throw my name on the pile of people who think this makes perfect sense. I’ve been a lot stricter with my diet the past few months and I’ve noticed a corresponding increase in my Grey Goose consumption. Nothing I’m concerned about, but I imagine if you’re morbidly obese due to what some people would call a “food addiction” and your ability to satisfy that craving is mechanically blocked, you’d quickly find some other outlet. And frankly, if your heart is about to explode, lose the weight first and deal with your screwed up credit rating later.

  11. Maybe this is more rare (and less fun) than Grey Goose replacement therapy, but I’ve noticed a lot of former fat people become very compulsive about exercise and health. ‘I HAVE to go running tonight.’ ‘I never eat sweets. Ever.’

    But yeah, this is definitely a ‘Oh. Huh.’ phenomena.

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