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Friday, March 3, 2017

The Facts About Eating Disorders and Addiction

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) and so what better time to talk about eating disorders and their link to addiction. This is especially relevant since this year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It,” and the organization is encouraging everyone struggling with food or exercise behaviors to start by taking its free, confidential online screening

Many people don’t realize that there's a significant overlap between eating disorders and drug addiction. In fact, food and body image struggles often surface after the substance abuse has ceased. 

Some more facts about eating disorders and addiction:
  • Nearly 50% of individuals with an eating disorder (ED) are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol -- a rate fives times greater than the general population. 
  • These co-occurring disorders affects both men and women, with up to 57% of males with binge eating disorder (BED) experiencing lifelong substance abuse problems. 
  • Multiple shared neurotransmitters are thought to be involved in both eating and substance use disorders.
  • Individuals with eating disorders also abuse prescription (steroids, insulin, thyroid medications and psychostimulants) and over-the-counter drugs (diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, weight loss supplements).
  • Research suggests a strong genetic component to both. Other common risk factors: personality traits such as impulsivity; social pressures; family dynamics; environmental triggers; and emotional trauma. 
  • Eating disorders and addiction frequently develop during stressful times in an effort to cope with emotions or to self-medicate underlying mental health issues.
  • Both are chronic diseases with resistance to treatment and high relapse rates, requiring intensive, long-term therapy.
  • A large body of research shows that for complete recovery, both disorders must be screened for and treated simultaneously.
Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder and substance use disorder, we can help. As one of few CA addiction treatment centers equipped to treat dual-diagnosis patients, Hope Academy works with outside physicians and practitioners to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

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