Eating disorders are a risk factor for all kinds of mental health issues, as is substance abuse. Often, the two coincide, making it that much more difficult for patients to recover from either issue.
Many patients receiving addiction services toronto remain too ashamed to admit that they are also suffering from eating disorders, but as soon as this problem is diagnosed, these suffering individuals can make greater progress in recovering from both.
How Prominent Is The Eating Disorder And Addiction Comorbidity?
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), nearly fifty percent of those currently dealing with eating disorders are also struggling with an addiction of some type. This is a very alarming figure — and it constitutes approximately five times the rate of addiction in the general population. In many eating disorder sufferers, substance abuse is actually used to enhance eating disorder symptoms, with some abusing prescription medications and illicit drugs in hopes of losing weight. Others simply seek to dull the pain they feel on a daily basis or chase a high that is always just out of reach.
Which Problem Should Be Treated First?
Every combination of drug use and disordered eating is different, so there is no one treatment plan that will prove effective for everybody. In many cases, it is most important to get the individual’s system free of drugs first, as these pose the number one danger. However, if the addicted individual is suffering from severe anorexia and very mild substance abuse, the more pressing concern may be nourishment. In general, it is easier to treat an eating disorder once the sufferer’s system is free of all dangerous substances, just as it is easier to treat drug addiction if the patient is properly nourished.
Often, treatment of one issue will invariably pave the path towards easier treatment of the other, although there is always the risk of the individual who has kicked drugs or an eating disorder turning to the other problem as a coping mechanism.
Eating disorders and substance abuse can be difficult to treat on their own, but when combined, these issues may seem all but hopeless. Fortunately, with the help of the right treatment program, it is more than possible for sufferers to make headway on both issues. These problems are often the symptoms of deep depression or other mental issues; once underlying problems are tackled, patients are better equipped to leave their destructive coping mechanisms behind.