What Happens When ED and Substance Abuse Co-Occur
Has someone you know been eating irregularly and also abusing the harmful substance? Chances are that they have a dual diagnosis. It means when a person is facing mental health problems and substance abuse disorder simultaneously. These disorders are often called co-occurring or co-morbidity mental health and substance abuse.
Consuming substances extensively and having disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder can cause complex emotional, physical, and social problems. These ailments are particularly dangerous combinations that increase the risk of death.
The ailment encompasses an array of conditions akin to the misuse of drugs. It is often mistaken as substance-induced illness, which refers to the intoxication effects of a particular thing and the effects of discontinuing it. However, in general terms, it means the excessive consumption of drugs such as alcohol, illegal drugs, and pain medications. This habit leads to social, physical, and emotional harm.
This means the persistent eating behaviors that are unusual and can negatively impact your health. It also affects your ability to function during crucial times and emotional health. Before you even know, it can harm your heart, digestive system, oral health, and many other parts of your body.
Why These Disorders Co-Occur?
There are a handful of contributors to the fact that both the aforementioned illnesses so frequently co-occur. Talk about physical aspects, both involve the similar area of the brain, including your mind’s reward pathways and stress responses. The only thing complementary between them is that stuff like cocaine and amphetamine are used for weight and appetite control purposes.
Overlapping Genetic Variability is another factor that contributes to their simultaneous occurrence. Here, overlapping genetic variability means there is a connection between the two and personal traits such as impulsiveness, low self-esteem, and anxiety. It is also highly probable that Overlapping Environmental Triggers like past traumatic events lead to both ailments.
These overlapping attributes necessitate a proper diagnosis and treatment of both ED and SA at the same time. However, it is easier said than done. Since both the issues work in a kind of tandem, the treatment seems extremely tricky. In other words, just as one condition begins to recede, another one comes to the fore. Just when you feel some relief from ED, SA gets triggered even more.
What to Do?
A better understanding of the nature of the addictive behavior and getting to its underlying cause play efficiently. Dual diagnosis is a major treatment option for co-occurring disorders. It addresses the issue closely and roots out the triggers that the main cause of these ailments. Apart from that, care is essential because it goes beyond just addiction to oozing necessary coping skills and fostering the value of nutrition, exercise, socializing, and spiritual grounding.
Many substance abuse programs don’t accept patients with eating disorders too. Likewise, the ED programs don’t accept one with SA problems. But the right one will consider both of your problems simultaneously and help you combat them. They provide a sequential or parallel and integrated treatment programs. Also, it prevents the patients from hefty expenditure involved in individual assessment and recovery.
It is found that inpatient or residential treatment is necessary for that purpose. Since the dual occurrence of these disorders can burgeon the risk for medical problems, one is required to stay overnight at residential centers for medical surveillance.
Experts’ advice states that be wary of comorbid ED and SA as a starving body is unpredictable when it comes to processing drugs and alcohol. Moreover, a change in dietary plans and exercises can help exacerbate the major signs of eating disorders.
One wise man once said, “Early intervention paves a way for befitting outcomes”. One should stop believing in the stigma associated with an eating disorder and substance abuse. Instead, it is necessary to seek help in time from the trained professionals.