Problems with ‘Addiction Transfer’

This article, along with my earlier post, further illuminate the need for clearer conceptual boundaries for addiction. What are the differences between addictive behavior patterns and compulsive behaviors? How do we know what’s secondary to emotional or other problems and what is the result of a primary neurobiological condition causing loss of control? Where does it leave us if brain imaging studies find neurological patterns unique to gamers or frequent tanners?

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,”…

“The problem is that many people who have surgery haven’t been in therapy to address the issues behind their eating disorder,” says Kathryn Friedman Sloan, a licensed mental-health counselor in Palm Beach Gardens. “Most of them are emotional eaters, and when you take that away, they’re left with ‘what do I do with my emotions?’ “

An upcoming Bariatric Times article focuses on addiction transfer.

“It’s probably been about the last year and a half to two years that it’s been coming out in the research,” says coauthor Cynthia Alexander, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston. “We’ve started warning people that they have to be on the lookout. I’ve stepped up what I do in support groups and through education so that this doesn’t happen to our patients.

“There are millions of people who’ve had surgery who are dealing with this and want to bring it to light.”

One thought on “Problems with ‘Addiction Transfer’

  1. I had the gastric bypass surgery three years ago December 2006. I am now 25 years of age and this kind of information was not readily avaliable at the time I had my surgery. If I had known it probably wouldnt have changed my decission but instead it would have made me more persistant in receiveing therapy post surgery.


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