OSFED and Substance Abuse | Recovery Unplugged

Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Overcoming Eating Disorder

Eating disorder is the term used to describe a group of serious mental health issues that are manifested through a person’s relationship with food. It affects over 30 million Americans and claims at least one person every 62 minutes. Eating disorder has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and is an urgent and life-threatening condition at all stages. Although eating disorder affects both men and women, research indicates that women suffer from this condition at double the rate of men (20 million women and 10 million men).

Research also suggests that nearly 50 percent of individuals with an eating disorder are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol at a rate five times greater than what is seen in the general population. The co-occurrence of these disorders affects both men and women with up to 57 percent of males with binge eating disorder (BED) experiencing lifelong substance abuse problems. If you or a loved one is suffering from eating disorder or substance abuse or both, you need quality professional help to unravel and address these conditions.

Different Types of Eating Disorder

When thinking about eating disorder, many people automatically conjure up images of emaciated people throwing up the little bit of food they ingested in public in order to keep their condition a secret, the reality is that overeating is another example of this type of condition. A person’s relationship with food is often tied directly to other deeper-rooted psychological struggles. The main types of eating disorder include:

Anorexia Nervosa (Obsessive Desire to Lose Weight by Refusing to Eat)
Bulimia Nervosa (Overeating Followed by Self-Induced Vomiting)
• Binge Eating Disorder (BED) (Recurrent Episodes of Overeating Followed by Shame or Guilt)
• Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
• Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

Eating disorder is often linked to body image distortion and sometimes trauma associated with one’s weight. If trauma is a factor it must be addressed during treatment to help patients form healthy associations with food and build normal eating habits.

Physical Dangers of Eating Disorder

• Extreme Changes in Heart Rate
• Hypertension
• Low Blood Pressure
• Severe Dehydration
• Fatigue and Weakness
• Heart Failure
• Gastrointestinal Issues
• Esophageal Inflammation
• Osteoporosis
• Tooth Decay
• Irregular Bowel Movements
• Peptic Ulcer and Pancreatitis
• High Cholesterol
• Diabetes
• Gallbladder Disease
• Loss of Strength

These problems are likely to worsen the longer eating disorder progresses, which is why it’s important that victims get help immediately.


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