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Eating Disorders, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Eating Disorders, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction


Destin recovery Florida Drug RehabThere is a strong connection between eating disorders, alcoholism and drug addiction. In general, drug addiction and alcoholism afflicts almost half of eating disorder sufferers. It is estimated that 3% of the people in the U.S. have an eating disorder. Opiate, stimulant, depressant, and alcohol abuse in this case is often an attempt to cover the emotional distress that comes with an eating disorder.

It is not uncommon to have a co-existing eating disorder along with a drug dependence or alcohol dependence. Further, getting treatment for a alcoholism and drug addiction, without concurrent treatment for the eating disorder, can worsen the severity of the eating disorder, and vice versa. This fact may be most evident in an obese patient who undergoes bariatric surgery and subsequently loses a significant amount of weight. Without proper psychological treatment, the same person may then increase his or her use of other unhealthy behaviors, such as an increase in alcohol or drug use.

Anorexia and Drug or Alcohol Addiction

It is common for those who are afflicted with anorexia nervosa to also have alcoholism or drug addiction. Each disorder can be greatly influenced by the other, and concurrent dual diagnosis treatment is warranted. Treatment for either disorder alone is likely to result in a worsening of the symptoms of the untreated disorder.

A report from CASA, Columbia University’s center for research on substance abuse and eating disorders indicated that “Individuals with eating disorders are up to five times likelier to abuse alcohol or illicit drugs and those who abuse alcohol or illicit drugs are up to 11 times likelier to have eating disorders.”

The two disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse have the same impact upon the brain’s neurotransmitters, influencing dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. Many sufferers of anorexia nervosa also suffer from addiction to caffeine, tobacco, OTC drugs, laxatives, and diuretics. An addiction to laxative and diuretics must be treated under close medical supervision in order for an individualized detox plan to be formulated and safely implemented.

It is important to find a treatment facility that can address the substance abuse and mental health disorders and the anorexia nervosa concurrently.

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