Emily Eisenhart, Gemma Skuraton, Jamie Cromley
Purpose: Cutting edge research has suggested a strong relationship between alcoholism and obesity. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between self-reported alcohol abuse and overweight/obesity.
Methods: A total of 13 in-depth interviews were conducted with individuals who self-reported alcohol abuse and overweight/obesity and service providers. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Content analysis was used to identify reoccurring themes and demonstrative quotes.
Results: Participants did not readily recognize a relationship between alcohol abuse and overweight/obesity. However, participants did discuss weight gain associated with the treatment and recovery process. Most participants discussed the high prevalence of sweetened foods and processed foods in half-way houses, which are used to address carbohydrate cravings associated with withdrawal. Some participants discussed overweight/obesity prior to alcohol abuse, while others discussed weight gain associated with treatment and recovery. Service providers discussed the lack of services available for those struggling with co-occurring alcohol abuse and overweight/obesity. A treatment focus on overweight/obesity is avoided to prevent an unhealthy obsession with physical activity and diet from developing.
Conclusions: The relationship between alcohol abuse and overweight/obesity is not readily recognized by those struggling with the dual conditions or their treatment providers. Environmental conditions that encourage the development of overweight/obesity among those who struggle with alcohol abuse, however, are readily apparent. Changes to the environment in long-term treatment and recovery facilities that include the incorporation of healthy foods and reduced reliance on “sweets” are recommended.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/moya_alfonso/137/