Each week, Eating Recovery Center’s Chief Marketing Officer Julie Holland, MHS, CEDS, a clinician with almost 30 years experience in the treatment of eating disorders, shares advice and insights with readers of EverydayHealth.com. In the most recent installment of her blog, The Truth About Eating Disorders, Julie discusses valuable resources available to provide education and support recovery. Read the full blog post below, or visit EverydayHealth.com.
Eating disorders take a toll on an individual physically, mentally and emotionally. Furthermore, recovery can be impacted without adequate support or if the individual is engaging in other compulsive behaviors. For individuals who indulge in alcohol, both socially and as a way to deal with emotions, there are additional complexities and consequences associated that make lasting recovery that much more difficult.
Most studies have reported that eating disorders and substance use disorders, such as alcoholism, frequently co-occur.* Doctors are seeing an increase in the potentially deadly combination of eating disorders and alcohol
, often in one of the three following ways.
- College students are minimizing their food-based caloric intake in order to “save” calories and more comfortably drink when they go out with their friends.
- Men and women struggling with eating disorders use beer, wine and cocktails, rather than food, as main sources of sustenance.
- Eating disordered individuals use alcoholic beverages to deal with uncomfortable emotions and to ease the stress they’ve come to associate with eating.
Regardless of the behaviors individuals may practice, over indulging in alcohol when already restricting nutrients can be a deadly cocktail.
One thought related to why eating disorders and alcohol abuse
are so often seen occurring together is the fact that both disorders, according to The Seattle Times,
have “behaviors that are glorified and reinforced. Binge drinking is almost as cool and hip as losing weight and being thin” in today’s society.**
Thankfully the combination of eating disorders and alcohol has reached a tipping point and the public – and medical profession – are taking notice.
When an individual restricts calories, he or she strips his or her body of the vital nutrients it needs to function day in and day out. Prolonged restriction will eventually cause the body’s systems to begin to shut down. When alcohol is introduced into this situation, the shock to the body and its systems can trigger irreversible damage and deterioration.
The sooner you, or someone you love, seek treatment for an eating disorder
or alcohol abuse, the better the chances are for a full, lasting recovery. For individuals watching a friend or loved one struggle with disordered behavior, it can be difficult to know how to best provide support. Remember that recovery is an ongoing process and takes more than days and weeks; it can take months and even years.
Additionally, individuals in recovery from an eating disorder need to be cautious of crossover addictions that can occur in recovery. Eating disordered individuals often display addictive personalities and personality traits. Therefore, they need to be cautious of compensatory coping behaviors once eating disorder recovery has begun.
Are you or someone you know struggling with an eating disorder or perhaps substituting food with alcoholic beverages? Visit Eating Recovery Center’s website
to confidentially chat online with a member of the Intake Team. He or she can expertly answer your questions and get you the information your need.