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A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

Recovering From Addiction and an Active Eating Disorder

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Many people don’t realize just how common addiction and eating disorders (including disordered eating) actually are. Some people who struggle with an eating disorder turn to alcohol or substances as a way to self-medicate. Then there are those whose eating disorders or disordered eating arise as symptoms of their addictive behaviors. Regardless of the order in which the issues arise, the key is to get help and treat them together as soon as possible.

Understanding Co-occurring Addiction and Mental Health Disorder

Many people struggle with comorbidities of addiction and mental health. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “7.7 million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders… Of the 20.3 million adults with substance use disorders, 37.9% also had mental illnesses. Among the 42.1 million adults with mental illness, 18.2% also had substance use disorders.”

It is not uncommon for addiction to trigger issues of mental illness, and vice versa. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Certain substances can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health problem,” and “Mental health problems can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug use, as some people with a mental health problem may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication.” Both of these instances include people who struggle with addiction and an eating disorder.

Struggling With Addiction and an Active Eating Disorder

According to the 2021 Journal of Eating Disorders, “A recently published meta-analysis on the prevalence rates examining the comorbidity of SUDs [substance use disorders] in EDs [eating disorders] found that the pooled prevalence of SUDs in EDs was 22%, with the prevalence of EDs among individuals seeking treatment for SUDs being 35%. Thus, the prevalence of EDs in individuals with SUDs appears to be ten times higher than the prevalence of EDs in the general population, with the prevalence of SUDs among individuals with EDs in treatment between 25 and 50%.” These are significantly high rates of comorbidity.

Many people who struggle with addiction and eating disorders also struggle with the feeling of “control.” When an individual feels like they are losing control in certain situations they try to regain that feeling by engaging in disordered eating or using alcohol or substances. Many people try to regain that feeling by engaging in both. However, ultimately, these behaviors only lead to more serious disordered eating, eating disorders, and potential addiction.

The Signs and Symptoms of Addiction and an Active Eating Disorder

It can be difficult to diagnose a person with co-occurring disorders because the symptoms of one disorder often mask the other. However, when it comes to eating disorders and addiction, the signs and symptoms are relatively distinct. The following are a few of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder:

  • Making excuses to skip mealtimes and avoid eating
  • Sudden extreme weight loss
  • Creating food rituals, such as chewing a certain number of times or arranging foods in a certain way before eating
  • Becoming overly preoccupied with weight and appearance
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing fainting spells
  • Having gastrointestinal issues
  • Feeling anxious and depressed

Now, the following are a few of the signs and symptoms of alcohol and/or substance addiction:

  • Isolating away from loved ones
  • Becoming secretive and deceptive regarding their behaviors
  • Losing interest in activities and hobbies once enjoyed
  • No longer caring about personal hygiene or appearance
  • Continuing to drink or use despite negative consequences
  • Experiencing withdrawals when alcohol or substances are unavailable
  • Feeling anxious and depressed

Treatment Options for Co-occurring Eating Disorders and Addiction

The good news is there are many effective ways to treat addiction and eating disorders at the same time. One particularly effective way to treat both of these issues at the same time is with psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychotherapy can get to the underlying issues that are often closely linked to eating disorders and addiction.

Recovery communities (like 12-Step programs) are also highly beneficial for people struggling with co-occurring addiction and eating disorders. These programs can help people relate to others who are going through the same situation as well as keep people accountable to their recovery program. These communities can also greatly reduce the potential for relapse.

Healing at the Cellular Level With Lantana Recovery

Here at Lantana Recovery, we know that recovery is about more than just “fixing” an addiction or an eating disorder. It is about getting back the life people both deserve and desire. That is what recovery at the cellular level is all about.

Remember, the most important part of recovery is taking the first step. It is also important to remember that recovery is about the journey, never the destination, and there is no better place to take that first step and start that journey than right here at Lantana Recovery.

Co-occurring addiction and eating disorders are more common than many people may think. Also, those struggling with a dual diagnosis of addiction and an eating disorder are best served when both issues are treated at the same time. This ensures that the untreated issue will not cause the treated one to resurface. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, an eating disorder, or comorbidities of both, we can help get you on the right road to long-term recovery right away. That is our mission and recovery promise. For more information about healing from co-occurring disorders, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.