Dealing With Weight Gain During Addiction Recovery

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on March 2, 2022

While using drugs and in recovery, a person’s body changes, and their weight may fluctuate. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for how your body adjusts to recovery. At Diamond House Detox, we’re pleased to offer individualized care and aftercare plans to help you with every facet of your recovery journey.

Drug Abuse Can Cause a Person to Lose Weight

Why does drug use cause weight loss? Before entering recovery, someone who uses drugs or alcohol may lose weight for several reasons:

  • The focus on substance use may prevent a person from caring for their diet, leading to poor nutrition and irregular meals.
  • The use of drugs or alcohol can speed up the metabolism as the liver works harder, making weight loss likely.
  • Some substances can be appetite depressants or make a person feel full, reducing the desire for food.
  • Liver damage and other damage to the body due to drug and alcohol use can cause loss of appetite.

Weight Gain During Recovery Is Normal and Healthy

Though everyone's bodies are different, weight gain is possible when someone becomes sober. Weight gain during sobriety may occur for a few reasons:

  • People may turn to eating to fill the time substance use took, which may lead to overeating.
  • The body is often depleted and hungry for nutrients after lacking them before recovery.
  • A person may still want the “feel good” experience substances used to provide, which sugar and other foods may mimic.
  • Increased stability may make three meals per day and snacking more possible, resulting in weight gain as the body adjusts to normal amounts of food again.

How to Handle Weight Gain

Sobriety and weight gain do not always follow each other. Some people experience sobriety and weight loss. Someone who is in recovery from alcohol misuse, for example, may be consuming fewer calorie-dense drinks.

However, if you do experience more weight gain than you and your doctor feel is healthy, there are several things you can do:

  • Have an eating plan: Stick to regular mealtimes and create a meal plan centered around healthy foods. Tally up the rough number of calories you need to be at your ideal weight and make sure your plan includes the right number of calories overall.
  • Focus on exercise: Working out ensures you burn calories. Plus, exercise is a time-consuming activity that can help you control snacking.
  • Think health, not weight: Focus on overall wellness rather than numbers on a scale. A healthy weight will usually follow. If you’re still struggling, working with medical professionals can help.

 Manage Your Recovery With Diamond House Detox

Recovery can affect every area of your life, including your relationships and weight. At Diamond House Detox, we specialize in co-occurring disorders and provide the support you need. Clients enjoy private rooms, a chef, group therapy and other benefits that encourage success.

When you manage your recovery with Diamond House Detox, our team is there to help you every step of the way, with trained professionals to address your concerns in a tranquil, comfortable environment. Take a look at our programs today. If you're ready to start recovery but have questions, you can contact our friendly team for answers.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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