Food is a basic need for our survival and our bodies depend on the nutrients in food to stay healthy. For some people, food consumes their life. Sometimes people turn to food for comfort due to stress, depression, or anxiety. Eating disorders come in many forms such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. In any form, an eating disorder can cause physical disfiguration, impairment, obesity, and death.
A person who has an eating disorder develops an addictive relationship with self-destructive eating patterns. An individual with anorexia will starve his or herself because of their distorted perception of how they look. A person with anorexia literally starves to death. The lack of food causes extreme weight loss, hair loss, and impairs the body’s organs. Eventually, anorexia leads to an early death.
An individual with bulimia eats normally or binge-eats, then immediately and intentionally vomits the food. He or she might like the taste of the food but throws up to avoid gaining weight. Bulimia can cause tooth decay from the stomach’s acid that comes up with the food. A person who has bulimia is at risk of developing severe physical impairments and death.
An individual who has an eating disorder shows similar characteristics of a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. These addictive behaviors are self-destructive, harmful, and deadly. When a person has an eating disorder, he or she loses control and the ability to stop.
Eating disorders are related to some of the psychological effects of starvation, which appear to be similar to symptoms of addiction. A person with an eating disorder is preoccupied with food and experiences the urge to binge, is irritable, depressed, and overeats as a response to stress. The effects of starvation can make a person feel they are addicted to food. This can cause the person to avoid food. The avoidance of food reinforces the person to feel addicted.
The causes for developing an eating disorder or drug addiction are very similar. Social pressure, impulsivity, stress, and emotional trauma are reasons a person turns to addictive behavior. Eating disorders and substance addiction develop from stressful situations as a way to cope with emotional distress.
A person with an eating disorder or addiction could be self-medicating for mental health complications such as depression or anxiety. Eating disorders and drug or alcohol addiction are chronic diseases with high relapse rates. All require treatment for recovery.
Recovery needs to take place in mind, body, and spirit. That is why Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic approach to treatment, providing a multi-faceted partial care program rooted in evidence-based therapies, proven healing methods, and 12-step inspired recovery. Call us today for information on our programs for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, including eating disorders: 833-801-5483.