How Are Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse Connected?

How Are Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse Connected?Eating disorders and substance abuse often coincide, and Ohio residents struggling with these co-occurring issues need integrated treatment for lasting recovery.

What Are the Most Common Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are mental health problems that involve unusual eating habits and obsessive thoughts about food and eating. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the two most common eating disorders. People suffering from anorexia nervosa have an irrational fear of weight gain, and eat extremely little or not at all. Anorexia nervosa is commonly referred to as anorexia, but this is actually a misuse of the term. The word anorexia is a medical term that means a person is not hungry. Anorexia nervosa is a mental health concern characterized by a constant lack of hunger or by a refusal to eat despite hunger.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Vomiting is not the only purging method, and some people suffering from bulimia nervosa take laxatives or exercise excessively in order to lose weight quickly. It is also common for binge eaters to fast for long periods of time between sessions of binging and purging.

How Are Eating Disorders Related to Drug Abuse?

One possible explanation for co-occurring drug problems and eating disorders is that the two share common risk factors. These factors include the following:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • An impulsive nature
  • Stress
  • Undergoing a time of transition
  • Low self esteem
  • Family history of addictions or eating disorders

Ohio residents with eating disorders frequently have emotional or psychological issues that they try to treat with drugs or through their compulsive eating behaviors. These underlying issues are often treated with drugs that have a high potential for abuse and addiction. This can lead to the need for Dual Diagnosis treatment. This form of treatment is designed for patients with co-occurring addictions and eating disorders or other mental health issues. Every co-occurring issue complicates the other, and an eating disorder can increase a drug problem, while drug use will make eating disorders worse. Rehab centers and medical facilities that specialize in Dual Diagnosis treatment give specific, case-by-case attention to patients. They know the best way to treat all health problems at the same time, as this is often the most effective way to address co-occurring concerns.

Addiction and Eating Disorder Help for Ohio Residents

If you or someone you know suffers from drug addiction, an eating disorder or both, we are here to help. Call our 24 hour helpline to learn more about how these issues interact and how effective treatment for both can be found. All calls and phone services are free, so please don’t hesitate to call and learn more today.