Leading New Jersey drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, Summit Behavioral Health, discusses how drug or alcohol addiction and eating disorders are often connected. Drug or alcohol addiction affects about 50% of those who suffer from eating disorders, compared to only about 9% of the general population. Both are chronic, relapsing conditions that require treatment and ongoing maintenance for long-lasting recovery. They are both influenced by genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. These similarities often create co-occurring disorders in patients.
Common Types of Eating Disorders
There are several types of eating disorders and the behaviors of each may overlap in some sufferers. The most common are:
Anorexia Nervosa – Sufferers will increasingly eat less and less food, or completely stop eating, causing serious health consequences.
Bulimia Nervosa – Individuals with this eating disorder will eat large amounts of food in a short period of time, then induce vomiting to empty their stomachs.
Compulsive Overeating – This condition may also be considered binge eating or food addiction. Sufferers binge on food or consistently overeat in an attempt to manage their emotions.
Drunkorexia – Sufferers of this type of disorder typically share the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia, combined with drinking alcohol or using drugs to keep their weight down. This disorder is becoming increasingly popular with female students on college campuses who want to party without gaining weight.
Eating Disorders and Drug or Alcohol Addiction
There is a definite connection between eating disorders and substance abuse, you can see this with the description of drunkorexia above. Additionally, people who suffer from eating disorders often drink or use drugs in order to self-medicate the symptoms of their eating disorders or to escape the shame and emotional distress that they feel because of them.
Anytime there are co-occurring disorders, it is essential that both disorders are treated at the same time. If only one condition is treated, it may worsen the symptoms of the other. The complications of untreated eating disorders can be severe, so it’s important to know the warning signs. It’s essential that if you think you or a loved one has an eating disorder you seek medical help right away.
Treatment for Eating Disorders and Addiction
Fortunately, both eating disorders and drug or alcohol addiction are treatable. As there is a direct link between eating disorders and substance abuse, they are co-occurring disorders and should be treated simultaneously. Many rehabilitation facilities are equipped to treat patients who have co-occurring disorders. Inpatient treatment is often recommended for these types of patients because they will receive all the necessary addiction and nutrition education, therapy, psychiatric care, coping skills, and relapse prevention techniques that they will need to begin the recovery process, along with around-the-clock medical care and emotional support.
Armed with these tools and ongoing medical and mental health care, patients can develop a healthy relationship with food and find long-lasting recovery from drugs or alcohol.
About Summit Behavioral Health
Summit Behavioral Health treats patients who are suffering from both addiction and eating disorders. The organization offers drug and alcohol medical detox, addiction inpatient treatment, intensive and non-intensive outpatient treatment, and eating disorder treatment. Summit’s holistic treatment programs combine cognitive-behavioral and emotion-based therapy techniques with 12-step facilitation, and relapse prevention.
FOR DRUG & ALCOHOL DETOX & PERSONALIZED 12 STEP PROGRAM ADDICTION TREATMENT
Serenity at Summit - New Jersey Addiction Treatment Centers - 609-422-5788 (Union, NJ)
40 Minutes from New York City
Serenity at Summit - New England, Addiction Treatment Centers
978-574-5999 (Haverhill, MA)
45 Minutes from Boston, Massachusetts
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