People who have eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, often turn to substance abuse to manage their symptoms or expedite weight loss, and addicts may develop these conditions after the fact. The presence of addiction and a disorder is often referred to as a dual diagnosis. Both of these disorders alone can cause a host of health problems, and together, they can be particularly dangerous.
At our drug and alcohol rehab center in Pompano Beach, we understand the dangers of a dual diagnosis. It’s not uncommon for people who struggle with addictions to also suffer from eating disorders like:
People who struggle with bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating are more likely to engage in substance abuse. These individuals often believe that their natural bodies aren’t enough. They’re constantly seeking a different version of themselves and will go to great lengths to get there. Even as they’re experiencing the repercussions of their eating disorder, they may attempt to expedite their weight loss through the use of substances like laxative, alcohol, diuretics, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, approximately 50 percent of people with an eating disorder in the United States abuse drugs or alcohol compared to 9 percent of the general population. Out of all the people in that time with a substance abuse disorder, 35 percent of them had some form of an eating disorder.1
The connection between eating disorders and substance abuse also has a lot to do with mental health. Not only are eating disorders physically draining, but they also have a heavy impact on the mind. People with these conditions often turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms.
Eating disorders and substance abuse are individually dangerous. While their symptoms vary in type and severity, combined they’re deadly. Many individuals who begin using drugs or alcohol during an eating disorder don’t plan on becoming addicted. However, continuous abuse of drugs or alcohol will eventually lead to dependency, and the individual may require drug or alcohol addiction treatment to get sober.
Mental disorders like anxiety, depression, self-harm, and borderline personality disorder are all linked to eating disorders. At Banyan Treatment Centers, we understand the connection between eating disorders and substance abuse. That’s why we offer a mental health program in addition to our addiction programs. In this program, we incorporate a variety of treatments that are designed to address the mental impact of substance abuse and eating disorders.
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