Treatment Options for Addiction Transfer Risks

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery that reduces the amount someone with an overeating disorder can intake. The surgery, which has been widely successful, is an efficient solution to addictive overeating. But in this case, as well as in substance abuse recovery, transfer addiction can occur.

However, assuming that surgery fully corrects this action would be like assuming surgery to prevent someone from injecting heroin would eliminate their desire to still engage in this action.

A bariatric procedure could be likened to medication-assisted treatment. It helps with the physical aspect of the challenge, but that’s only half the battle. Potentially, the most difficult part of food addiction is dealing with the mental aspect – in the exact same way a drug user deals with the absence of substance abuse.

When someone with a food addiction has a bariatric procedure, it’s possible they engage in another addiction, like alcohol, drug, or otherwise. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab has treatment options to prevent this phenomenon known as transfer addiction.

If you or someone you know suffers from food addiction and is having or already had this surgery, consider the following treatment options to mitigate the risk of addiction transfer in a clinical rehabilitation setting.

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How Common Is Transfer Addiction?

Eating Disorders

It’s estimated that transfer addiction takes place in nearly 30% of clients who opt for bariatric treatment. Without the comfort of filling an emotional void with food, the client gravitates toward filling it with something else – shopping, sex, gambling, pornography – the possibilities are endless.

In many cases, process addictions manifest. However, that’s not to say that drug addiction isn’t just as high or dangerous of a risk. When you go through the admissions process at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we look for certain precursors that make you at high risk for addiction transfer.

We use this data to help create a personalized treatment plan to help you cope with the absence of the action you leaned on for comfort for so many years. The following actions or histories increase the risk of transfer addiction cases:

  • Eating Disorders. Clearly, this is the number one factor that we look for. If you were clinically diagnosed with food addiction or a compulsive eating disorder, this puts you in the highest risk category for transfer addiction. This is actually an extremely positive stone to turn over, as it leads to a direct route to a treatment plan that makes the most sense for your specific disorder.
  • Substance Abuse. A personal or family history of drug addiction is also another major indicator. If anyone in your family has a past involving drug abuse, or you’ve struggled with it, we would incorporate elements of abuse treatment and potential dual diagnosis therapeutic efforts to help you avoid the pitfalls of this transfer addiction.
  • Drinking Habits. Did you have any drinking habits before your surgery? You don’t need to have necessarily been involved in full-blown alcohol dependency before your procedure. Even having the smallest affinity for drinking alcohol can be hugely magnified after your surgery. Remember – we’re not necessarily looking for the presence of a disorder but the potential for the development of one. This is why it’s vitally important that you’re honest during the admission process, even about details you feel may be insignificant.
  • History of Overly-Medicating. This is a huge potential pitfall in these situations. If you’ve ever had a challenge with maintaining your prescribed medication regimen, this is something we need to be aware of. Again, it might not be problematic. It could have been just an extra pill or two here and there. But this can turn into a potential crisis situation if we’re not aware of it and take the steps to face it head-on.
  • History of Trauma. If you’ve ever experienced any trauma from childhood to adulthood – whatever that trauma may be, it’s important you process it if you haven’t taken that step. We have an excellent trauma-based therapy program, and it’s important to put all these things on the table while you’re in treatment so we can educate you regarding the ins and outs of trauma-based addictions.
  • A History of Depression. A history of any depressive or anxiety disorders can push you to self-medicate at any moment in life – magnify those risks tenfold after surgery when transfer addiction is a possibility. Our mental health services and holistic therapy plans for co-occurring disorders are world-renowned, and we can keep you on the right path to success. Preemptive measures make your efforts far more successful than waiting for a disorder to develop and manifest and then dealing with it it in an uphill battle situation.
  • Feelings of Isolation. It’s very common for someone post-surgery to experience feelings of isolation or a lack of support. Not everybody has the convenience of a strong support system at home – and that’s something we understand better than anybody. We’ll be sure to give you the support and encouragement you need to help you realize that your success is more important than you realize.
  • Deflecting or Avoiding Emotions. It’s easy to deflect or avoid some of the emotions you might be feeling since your surgery. And while you think you might be dodging a bullet by putting them on the back burner, you’re setting yourself up for failure at some point in the future. It might not be today, and it might not even be tomorrow – but at some point, that closet will open, and those feelings need somewhere to go. Let’s deal with them together in the optimal environment.
  • History of Self-Sabatoge. Have you engaged in self-sabotage in the past? This doesn’t mean self-harm or suicidal tendencies. When some people go through major changes, especially in cases of eliminating a comfort that was hurting them, we often “find reasons to fail.” Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy – but that’s okay because you’re also the author of your success. We’ll help you learn your self-worth and find out why your success is important through behavioral therapy techniques.

Stopping Addiction Transfer In Its Tracks

Addiction Transfer Treatment

Why is it important to be prepared for transfer addictions ahead of time? The answer is simple.

If you had some way of knowing you were going to engage in a substance use disorder but had the chance to take preventative maintenance – you’d probably do it, right? Going to treatment for transfer addictions post-surgery is a unique opportunity to be proactive in your success and recovery.

Bariatric surgery patients face a real chance of falling prey to an addictive substance or mental illness. Compulsive behaviors don’t just stop on their own, and they’re not surgically eliminated.

At our facility, clients have access to support groups about cross-addiction, learn about addictive behaviors, and engage in addiction recovery – and for more than one addiction. In these cases, because there is more than one addiction, we’re facing a potential dual diagnosis situation which is especially serious.

It’s critical to learn healthy coping mechanisms following bariatric surgery. Whether it’s sex addiction, shopping addiction, or any other transferred addiction, we treat addictive behavior like a chronic disease because that’s what it is.

Besides receiving education on addiction replacement, we also prepare our clients for post-treatment and give them resources for relapse prevention. This is in regard to the original addiction and any potential complicating disorders or new addiction because of an addictive personality.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Avoid Harmful Consequences at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we want to help you avoid trouble before it surfaces. There’s no shame in entering treatment directly after surgery – it’s not attracting another disorder; it’s being sensible about the manifestation of one. Look at this as a one-time opportunity to get off on the right foot after your procedure – a chance that so many people who opt for these surgeries don’t get because of a lack of mental health awareness in the surgical industry.

For more information on this program and others, contact a member of our Intake Coordination team today. All calls are strictly confidential and discrete, so please reach out in confidence to get options and solutions with Exclusive Hawaii now!