Mounting evidence in recent years suggests that many similarities exist between addictive conditions and eating disorders. Both conditions inappropriately stimulate the brain’s reward center, which creates an addictive cycle. An eating disorder treatment program along with addiction treatment starts with a diagnosis of co-occurring disorders.
Eating Disorder Treatment and Definitions
Several types of eating disorders exist, but the following are the most common:
Starvation and severe calorie limitations characterize anorexia, and sufferers are usually attempting to lose weight, even if they are already very thin. Sufferers of bulimia purge through either vomiting or laxatives, with the goal of keeping calories from being absorbed. Binge eaters typically eat a large amount in one setting and then may purge afterward to rid themselves of the discomfort. Compulsive eaters typically eat when triggered by certain things such as stress, anxiety or depression. They do not typically purge after eating, so obesity tends to go along with this disorder.
All of these eating disorders cause both mental and physical health problems, which makes it easy to understand how sufferers end up turning to drugs and alcohol. Experts remain unsure why some people end up with eating disorders and others do not. The answer may lay within mental factors. Eating disorder sufferers tend to have perfectionist thoughts. They believe that they can be perfect and manifest this idea on their bodies.
Eating disorder treatment must address both physical and mental health. Like addiction treatment, behavioral therapy tends to be the prime method of treatment.
Co-Occurring Addiction and Eating Disorder Treatment Program
So what role do alcohol and drug abuse play in eating disorders? People who have eating disorders often feel upset and defeated. They may be confused and frustrated with their lives and the lack of perfection in their bodies. Drugs and alcohol appear to offer the relief they seek. Some drugs also help suppress appetite and appeal to the weight-loss eating disorders. Those suffering from these eating disorders often experience strong hunger on a regular basis. Drugs that suppress hunger signals become tools of relief.
Certain substance abuse disorders also come easier to certain eating disorders. For example, alcohol abusers may simply keep drinking until they are too drunk to continue. Someone who also suffers from bulimia may drink, then vomit and continue drinking. Alcohol tends to be attractive to those with anxiety-induced eating disorders. People who become intensely worried at the thought of eating may consume alcohol in order to allow themselves to eat. Of course, any time a substance is consumed in order to change a state of mind, it can quickly become a crutch, which then opens the door to addiction.
In order to properly treat addiction with a co-occurring eating disorder, both must be addressed. An eating disorder treatment program at an addiction treatment facility offers the best chance for a successful recovery from both.
Eating Disorder Treatment and Addiction Recovery
Get the dual diagnosis you need to properly treat eating disorders and addiction at Steps to Recovery in Levittown, PA. At Steps to Recovery, we specialize in treating co-occurring disorders and fully evaluating each patient’s individual situation. One of the keys to both addiction and eating disorder treatment program success is a completely customized treatment plan. Start on the path to long-term recovery with the services offered at Steps to Recovery, including:
Our quality addiction treatment center helps those suffering from addiction regain their lives. It starts with a personalized approach, continues with cognitive behavioral therapy and evidence-based treatments, and finishes with relapse prevention and sober living skills.
If you or a loved one suffers from drug or alcohol addiction, or addiction and a co-occurring eating disorder, get help today and contact Steps to Recovery at 866.488.8684. Don’t allow addiction to control your life for one more day.