Beyond The Addiction Of An Eating Disorder
I agree that an eating disorder, when it manifests as a behavioral lifestyle, can certainly qualify as an addiction. It completely dominates the sufferer’s life, plus, the effects of starvation reinforce the addictive behavior. Obsessive and desperate measures may be taken by the one suffering, in order to maintain what they percieve to be the only “safe” method of survival…which in fact is killing them.
After the initial phase of treatment, when a normal weight and eating pattern is restored, comes the difficult work of breaking free from the triggers that may easily cause recovery to break down. The first year after weight restoration is critical in remaining symptom free, and refraining from the addictive behaviors associated with food.
The main difference between some addictions, such as with drugs and alcohol, is that abstinence in not an option. No one can live without food. So there is a delicate balance in seperating eating from emotions, so that one does not relapse back into addictive behaviors involving food. This is the reason that a person in recovery from an eating disorder should maintain contact with a professional for accountability, and to continue to work on issues that may affect their abiity to cope with life’s challenges in a healthy way.