Addiction among the Morbidly Obese

The editorial staff of Sunrise House, comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers, shared with Healthy Lombard that it’s helpful to picture a simple Venn diagram when thinking about morbid obesity and drug addiction. Picture about 80 million American adults occupying the circle representing obesity in the US. Now picture about 20.8 million Americans, aged 12 and older, occupying a circle representing the estimated number of people who have experienced a substance use disorder. Put those two circles together and a shaded area would emerge to reveal the number of Americans who are experiencing co-occurring obesity and a substance use disorder. Research has not clearly revealed that number, but it is significant.

The co-occurrence of obesity and a substance abuse disorder is a complex matter. Research studies continue to consider the link between the two disorders, while still trying to understand each. For this reason, a discussion of obesity and substance abuse must necessarily look at factors involved in each, then their interaction, and ultimately how to treat each and both at the same time. The good news is that recovery from both conditions is possible.

About Morbid Obesity

Morbid obesity can be measured scientifically, though it is an estimate at best. To measure the amount of fat, muscle, and water in the body, medical and other health professionals rely on taking a person’s body mass index (BMI). People who have a BMI higher than 35 are considered morbidly obese.

For individuals who are morbidly obese, their health is the a major concern. The following is a list of some possible health risks:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Reproductive problems
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease and blood lipid abnormalities
  • Sleep apnea (periods during sleep when a person stops breathing

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