The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse | Banyan Philadelphia

The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Addictions can often occur alongside eating disorders.

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.

Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse Comorbidity

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:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nrvosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Pica
  • Rumination Disorder
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

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.

Treating Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

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.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental illness or addiction, we can help. Call us today at 888-966-9413 to learn more about our facility and the programs we offer.

Sources & References:

  1. NCBI- Patterns of Comorbidity of Eating Disorders and Substance Use in Swedish Females
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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