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What Causes Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse?

What Causes Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse can cause weight loss

It can be difficult for those without eating disorders to understand why people would make a conscious choice to starve themselves or to purge their food after eating. Often, it is just as difficult for those with eating disorders to understand why they do it. Regardless of why eating disorders develop, they frequently result in concurrent drug abuse, which can make treatment of either condition more difficult.

Eating Disorder Development

Eating disorders are complex conditions that can arise from any number of reasons. A person’s genetics, culture, psychological wellbeing, and environment all play into whether he or she develops an eating disorder. For this reason, it is often impossible to pinpoint what exactly causes an eating disorder in one specific person. However, there are often many trends that are found in those who develop these conditions.

One of the most common trends found in those with eating disorders is the need to establish control. These individuals may feel that have no control over their lives, and therefore choose to find some control in what and how they eat. This leads to the development of many compulsive behaviors, such as calorie counting, cutting food into small bites or purging.

Other times, eating disorders may be largely contributed to the desire for perfectionism. Those with this trait feel inadequate if they have not achieved their idea of what is perfect. This typically results in a low self-esteem and a need to accomplish more. Those who require perfectionism may feel the need to look perfect, and end up starving or purging as a way to achieve it.

Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse

Eating disorders are incredibly difficult to deal with, both physically and emotionally. Because of this, many with eating disorders turn to drug abuse as a means of coping with daily struggles. When feeling overwhelmed with self-hatred, they might feel compelled to create an artificial happiness through drugs. Unfortunately, drugs simply mask the true problem instead of helping them to get better.

Those with eating disorders may also abuse certain drugs as an additional means of weight loss. Stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, methamphetamine, and cocaine are all known to have appetite-suppressing effects. This effect makes it easier for those with eating disorders to restrict calories with the use of drugs.

Recovering From Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse

Recovering from an eating disorder can be difficult, even when drug abuse is not involved. When substance abuse is thrown into the mix, recovery can be that much more difficult. Specialized treatment may be necessary for those suffering concurrently from these two disorders.

Integrated treatment is a specialized form of treatment for those suffering from co-occurring disorders, such as an eating disorder and addiction. Through integrated treatment, the client works with a team of healthcare professionals to recover from both disorders at the same time. This form of treatment is effective because co- occurring disorders have such a strong impact on one another. The existence of an addiction, for example, may interfere with recovery from an eating disorder if it is not also treated at the same time.

Get Help for an Eating Disorder

Those suffering from eating disorders may be hesitant to seek treatment. However, by utilizing available resources, many people overcome eating disorders and reclaim their lives. If you or a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for eating disorders.

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