You expected discomfort and intense cravings when you quit alcohol, but not this. This type of craving is new, and you can’t get it out of your head. Almost like a shadow, it seems to follow you throughout your day. It would be easy to give in, but you’ve seen all the recent news about the negative effects it can have. We’re talking about sugar cravings after giving up alcohol.
Now that you’ve made the courageous decision to quit drinking, the future looks brighter. But why did sugar cravings replace the alcohol cravings? The truth is, it’s common for people who quit drinking to, out of nowhere, start craving sugar or sweets.
In this article, we’re going to go through the causes for your sugar cravings. We know that it can be challenging going from craving one substance to another. But by understanding the cause, you’ll be better equipped to handle it and move forward.
Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol Starts in the Brain
For people who quit drinking, it’s natural to think that you’re craving sugar because your body is used to the high sugar content found in alcoholic drinks. While this is a logical assumption, there is a deeper link. And it all starts in the brain. According to a recent study, eating sweets causes your brain to release dopamine. That’s the reward-based chemical that makes you feel good.
So why does that matter? Well, drinking alcohol can have the same effect. After you quit drinking, your body knows that it can reach a similar state through sugar. In fact, according to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sugar affects many of the same neural pathways in the brain as alcohol does.
Alcohol addiction can have a powerful hold over you. But if you’ve quit and are on the road to recovery, it’s important to be aware of the addiction shift from alcohol to sugar.
The Transfer Addiction
The name might give it away, but a transfer addiction is when you quit on addictive behavior (like drinking), and it gets replaced with another. And given how similar alcohol and sugar react in the brain, going from one to the other can happen. Alcohol withdrawal and sugar cravings can go hand in hand. But why doesn’t the addictive behavior go away?
It’s because addiction is a lifestyle, as well as a disease. There’s often an underlying reason fueling the addiction. That’s why treatment centers like Silver Maple Recovery offer trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapy. Addressing the underlying cause of your behavior can help you overcome a transfer addiction.
Heavy Drinking Can Cause Low Blood Sugar
Did you know that it’s common for people who have struggled with alcohol addiction to have low blood sugar? The liver, the organ that processes any alcohol you drink, is in charge of releasing glycogen into your blood. Alcohol stops this from happening, causing your blood sugar to drop. That’s why alcohol withdrawal and sugar cravings happen frequently.
When your blood sugar is low, it’s natural for your body to crave sweets to counteract it. Even if you indulge and give your body sugar to level out, it won’t solve the issue long term. Your blood sugar will drop again, landing you right back where you started.
Without staying on top of your sugar intake, you can find yourself caught in this cycle. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you suffer from low blood sugar. You’d be surprised at how some diet changes can help ease your sugar cravings. In fact, that’s part of the reason why the expert team at Silver Maple Recovery provides healthy meals for patients.
Can You Overcome Sugar Cravings?
Now that you know why you have sugar cravings after quitting alcohol, let’s talk about how to address those feelings. The good news is you have the ability to overcome your sugar cravings. You’ve already made the decision to stop drinking, so the process is something you’ve experienced before. Here are some ways you can start to curb your sugar cravings:
- Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
- Self-compassion. Be proud that you decided to quit drinking, celebrate the win and use it to make more progress
- Create a diet plan that lowers the amount of sugar in your diet
- Seek help from your support system
Silver Maple Recovery Can Help You on Your Sobriety Journey
Whether you’re struggling to stop drinking or have relapsed, we’re here to help. We use a curriculum of evidence-based therapies to help you heal from your alcoholism. As Northeast Ohio’s premier provider of alcohol addiction treatment, you can safely and privately recover from alcohol addiction.
Fighting an alcohol addiction is a challenge, but it’s not something you have to go through alone. When you call Silver Maple Recovery at 855-762-7531, you’ll be in contact with a professional caregiver. We’re here to help you achieve your recovery goals. Contact our team to get started today.