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One of the effects of regular heavy alcohol consumption is its negative effect on appetite.
It is a quandary: Why do alcoholics not eat food? What is it about the substance abuse that leads to loss of appetite? There are a couple of known reasons for the impact of alcohol on appetite. Let’s explore them:
Alcoholics prefer drinking over food.
For someone who has become alcoholic, their priorities have shifted in favor of the alcohol. This can result in the person making more of an effort to consume alcohol rather than eating healthy foods.
This helps explain why alcoholics don’t eat food. They simply fill up on the alcohol, leaving them feeling full. As a result they will take a pass on real food.
Alcoholism lessens the appetite.
There is data that long-term heavy alcohol use can lead to a reduced appetite. According to Dr. Anna Kojavec, “We confirmed that certain biochemical processes associated with appetite regulation do change when alcohol was consumed.” Her research has shown that alcohol can reduce appetite.
Heavy drinkers crave fatty foods.
People who engage in heavy drinking tend to crave poor food choices. For the question, “Why do alcoholics not eat food?” one could say they eat food, but just not healthy food.
A study conducted at Princeton showed that a hormone known as gelanin is produced when people drink. This hormone happens to increase the desire for fatty foods.
A person with an alcohol use disorder may develop this condition. This can result when malnourishment sets in, which can reduce the body’s insulin levels.
It is considered a health emergency and requires urgent care. Symptoms include fatigue, slow movement, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, irregular breathing, feeling dizzy, thirsty, and lightheaded.
End stage alcoholism and liver disease.
When alcoholism is allowed to progress serious health problems will emerge. One of them is alcoholic liver disease.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, edema, fever, itchy skin, weakness, fluid in the abdomen, and bloody stools. The only chance at a cure is to stop drinking, along with meds and quitting smoking.
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Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Alcoholism
It is common for those seeking treatment for an alcohol use disorder to arrive at rehab with serious health issues. These are the result of the harm to body systems due to the chronic misuse of alcohol. It is also due to ignoring one’s dietary needs.
The body uses a certain amount of nutrients just to break down the alcohol. If the body’s supply of these nutrients is not replaced through diet, the body cells become deprived of needed nutrients.
Also, alcohol blocks the breakdown of nutrients as the pancreas becomes less efficient. As a result of these issues, body functions and health suffer.
Heavy drinking is associated with many deficiencies, such as:
- Vitamin A, D, and E deficiency. This can happen because alcohol doesn’t allow the body to absorb these vitamins.
- B vitamins
- Thiamine. Thiamine deficiency can lead to a brain disorder called Wernick-Korsakoff.
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder
While there are three levels of severity for alcohol use disorder, many of these warning signs are fundamental across all levels:
- Drinking alone
- Increased tolerance
- Lying about your drinking
- Troubled relationships
- Avoiding social gatherings
- Legal problems
- Increasing negative consequences
- Increase in alcohol cravings
- Withdrawal symptoms
Getting Help for Alcoholism
Treatment for alcohol abuse is centered on making real changes in the way you respond to stressors or triggers. To achieve these changes, there are some treatment elements that are designed to work to this end. These include:
- Medical Detox
The first step to beating alcoholism is to undergo a complete detox under the care of a trained detox team. They will closely watch the symptoms during the detox process, as alcohol detox can become a problem. The team will take care to provide the needed meds and other support that help reduce discomfort.
After detox is over, active treatment begins. You can opt for either outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment, lasting one to twelve months. CBT is a proven therapy that helps to change the thoughts and actions that led to alcohol abuse.
To overcome these habits, new thoughts and behaviors will replace the old ones. CBT trains the client to notice how the drinking problem was a response to disordered thinking. CBT then teaches clients how to replace them with positive thought and behavior patterns.
- Group therapy
Meeting in small groups with a therapist allows for sharing. These sessions can help teach new coping skills, such as how to manage stress better. They also learn to improve family-related issues and relating skills.
- Design a diet high in lean proteins, fresh veggies and fruits, whole grain bread and pastas, nuts and seeds.
- Engage in running, cycling/spinning, swimming, hiking, walking, and dance cardio. Staying active helps to restore muscle mass, strength, and stamina. and also improves mood.
- Set a regular sleep pattern, shut off smartphones an hour before bed, and avoid caffeine late in the day.
The Treatment Specialist is an Online Resource for Addiction and Mental Health Topics
The Treatment Specialist is a team of experts in the addiction and mental health space. We provide a large online resource library on these topics. Our vast catalogue of data about substance use can help you better grasp how this disease can impact health.
You may wonder why a loved one is choosing to drink instead of eat healthy foods. Our team can guide you or a loved one to your treatment options. If your loved one is malnourished due to alcohol abuse, take the first step to getting them help. Contact The Treatment Specialist today for free guidance at (866) 644-7911.