People with an addiction who are also struggling with disordered eating often become obsessed with food, body image, and/or weight. These disorders can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. The earlier a person receives treatment, the greater the likelihood of full recovery. The most common examples of co-occurring disordered eating are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. Others include: avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, rumination disorder, pica, other specified and unspecified feeding or disordered eating.
Many individuals struggle with both chemical dependency and disordered eating.
- Up to 35% of individuals who abuse or were dependent on alcohol or other drugs have also had disordered eating, a rate 11 times greater than the general population
- Up to 50% of individuals with disordered eating abused alcohol or illicit drugs, a rate five times higher than the general population
Often underdiagnosed, many individuals struggle with both chemical dependency and disordered eating. Due to the comorbidity and critical medical complications, Santé Center for Healing addresses these disorders simultaneously, treating the addiction, the co-occurring disordered eating, and how they interact with each other. This requires that clients experience individually crafted and comprehensive treatment plans. Our psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, dietitian, certified co-occurring disordered eating specialist, and primary therapists help clients understand the true dangers of co-occurring disorders, often further complicated by unresolved trauma. For people who struggle with disordered eating alongside addiction, this can be especially critical as it is imperative to get to the core issues.
During the admissions process for addiction treatment, our master’s level Intake clinicians assess prospective clients for co-occurring disordered eating-related behaviors and motivations. For many of our clients pre-admission, their behaviors (i.e. restricting, purging, use of laxative, overexercising, etc.) have increased or escalated recently. Most have experienced a drastic change in weight and a lower level of care has been unsuccessful. The ability to function in relationships, work, and/or school has been negatively impacted.
At Santé, intuitive eating and balance are the focus and the long-term goal of our nutritional program for addiction treatment. Nutritional topics are linked to therapeutic and experiential programming; all of this is simultaneously implemented alongside individualized and group treatment for the chemical dependency and the co-occurring mental health disorder to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery.