Chemical Dependency And Eating Disorders

Individuals suffering with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating disorder face a number of challenges when it comes to receiving effective care for their disease. The road to recovery is made even harder when the eating disorder co-occurs with a chemical dependency issue. Mental health professionals define this common co-occurrence of a psychiatric disorder and a substance abuse…

Individuals suffering with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating disorder face a number of challenges when it comes to receiving effective care for their disease.  Drug Addiction & Food Addiction TreatmentThe road to recovery is made even harder when the eating disorder co-occurs with a chemical dependency issue.  Mental health professionals define this common co-occurrence of a psychiatric disorder and a substance abuse problem as a “dual diagnosis.”

Clinical research has established that nearly half of all patients undergoing treatment for an eating disorder also have an alcohol or drug abuse problem as opposed to less than 10% of the general population.  Fortunately, since the initial comprehensive study of the correlation of eating disorders and chemical dependency, by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) in the 1990s, the number of qualified treatment programs designed to handle the complex physiological, emotional and psychological aspects of a dual diagnosis has increased significantly.

The study conducted by CASA delineated a commonality of behavioral patterns and personal patient histories for both those individuals struggling with chemical dependency issues as well as those suffering with eating disorders.  Some, but not all, of the predominant shared behaviors or cultural influences include:

  • obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • low self-esteem
  • predisposition to chronic disease
  • high susceptibility to media imagery and/or messaging
  • Upbringing in a dysfunctional family unit

Considering that eating disorders often pose grave risks to those afflicted, it’s no surprise that the combination of a chemical dependency issue further exacerbates the potential danger for the individual sufferer.  When chemical dependency is added to the picture, the chance of serious illness with lethal consequences increases exponentially due to the overall physical toll the disease has imposed on the eating disordered individual.  Typically, eating disorders weaken the sufferer’s body and severely affect the sufferer’s immune system invariably opening the door to complications from disease.

It is essential that an individual dealing with an eating disorder and a chemical dependency issue locate a treatment center that specializes in dual-diagnosis patients.  Only a comprehensive and individualized program of care that addresses both the psychological and emotional problems of eating disorders along with the physiological issues posed by chemical dependency will allow for a lasting recovery.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on EatingDisorders.com.

All calls are private and confidential.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-568-9025Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?