Eating Disorders & Substance Abuse
Today we’d like to discuss substance abuse and other commonly seen mental health issues. For a long time, there was a false perception surrounding these disorders that people who suffer from addiction are “weak”. This is not the case as substance abuse and other mental health disorders require professional help to combat.
Fortunately, we’ve seen this stigma start to disappear as resources before wildly available for those who suffer from addiction and other issues such as eating disorders. It can be challenging to overcome co-occurring disorders but with the right treatment plan and support, anyone can beat it. The sooner people are able to seek help for these issues, the faster they can get on the road to recovery.
What are Co-Occurring Disorders?
When someone is diagnosed with more than one disorder at the same time, this is called a co-occurring disorder. Someone who suffers from an addiction to drugs or alcohol might also be facing a variety of other medical or mental health issues. Common co-occurring disorders include:
- Addiction and depression
- Chronic pain and addiction
- Substance abuse and anxiety
- Addiction and eating disorders
Sadly, addiction and depression often go hand in hand. Someone who suffers from depression may be looking for a way to cope with their grief or sadness.
Millions of people suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis. One of the first-line treatment options are prescription medications such as Vicodin and Oxycodone. These medications are incredibly addictive. It’s not uncommon for people to get physically addicted within a few days of using these pills.
According to the National Eating Disorder Organization, 50% of people who struggle with eating disorders also abuse drugs or alcohol. The most commonly abused substances are alcohol, laxatives, emetics, diuretics, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine.
How Can an Eating Disorder Affect Substance Abuse?
Those who struggle with an eating disorder can easily develop a problem related to substance abuse and addiction. There are three main types of eating disorders: bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia. Because both of these disorders fall under the category of mental health issues, the two often go hand in hand. Up to half of the people with eating disorders have abused alcohol or drugs at some point in the past. This is a rate that is many times higher than the general population. Why are these two disorders often found together?
One way someone with an eating disorder can get addicted to a substance is if they are taking something to control weight loss, such as amphetamines. This use may start out casually and then get progressively worse.
Another reason someone with an eating disorder can develop a substance abuse disorder is that both disorders share the same common risk factors. Family history, lack of self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, and guilt/shame, can all trigger both disorders.
Like substance abuse, eating disorders can cause serious medical issues. Electrolyte imbalances, heart arrhythmias, hair loss, and issues with hormones can all be found in someone who battles an eating disorder. Some of these medical issues can also land someone in the hospital and become life-threatening. Individuals who suffer from an eating disorder need to make sure they seek help from trained professionals.
Let Us Help You with Eating Disorders and Addiction Treatment!
At Warner Park Recovery, we are proud to be a dual diagnosis treatment center that provides help with mental health and substance abuse issues. We provide a variety of services including partial day, intensive outpatient and outpatient levels of care. From the first day we opened our doors, we have been serving Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Topanga Canyon, The Valley, and Thousand Oaks. We provide everyone with the chance to find recovery under bright blue skies in a gorgeous area of the country. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!