Eating Disorders and Substance AbuseThere is perhaps nothing more damaging to your body than the infusion of eating disorders and substance abuse. Eating disorders and substance abuse are harmful enough individually without exacerbating matters with crossover disorders. Whether you struggle with one or both simultaneously, Chapters Recovery Center is there to show you through this read that you can overcome your struggles. If you suspect you may differ from both, dual diagnosis treatment will help you assess whether you possess both conditions. More importantly, dual methodical treatment will provide a clear path to recovery. The best way to combat your dual-fold condition is to know your condition. Getting to know the basics below will guide you and your doctor to the correct approach for your recovery.

How are Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse Connected?

Eating disorders and substance abuse are more connected than you think and one can in fact cause the other. Because substance use alters the chemical and genetic makeup of brain function, it can cause other mental conditions, including eating disorders. On the other hand, eating disorders can even cause substance abuse with the intent of reaping the unhealthy benefits of drug indulgence. Possessing the co-occurring conditions of eating disorders and substance abuse makes your body a ticking time bomb for lethal consequences.

That’s what makes seeking immediate help all the more vital. Since eating disorders differ from other mental health conditions, they require a more precise method of treatment. This means your typical mental health center does not typically cover therapy for eating disorders.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-Occurring DisordersCo-occurring disorders refer to an individual who struggles with multiple disorders simultaneously. Co-occurring mental conditions of the same type, such as depression and anxiety are easier for the generic treatment center. However, in the case of eating disorders and substance abuse, a more specialized approach is needed. Most treatment centers don’t fit the knowledgeable criteria for treating eating disorders and substance abuse. At Chapters Recovery Center, you get top-quality therapy from a knowledgeable team of doctors. The treatment you need for any disorder is at your fingertips.

What Exactly Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are very specifically defined as having an over-conscientious mindset toward eating that directly affects their physical and mental state. Eating disorders are a result of paranoia, an image of oneself that is not accurate. One who harbors an eating disorder will exhibit an unrealistic concern of their body weight that will manifest itself through equally unrealistic and unhealthy eating habits. This form of paranoia further deteriorates your mental state over time while equally destroying your body.

What are Signs of an Eating Disorder?

Signs of an Eating DisorderWhile eating disorders and substance abuse affect your body internally, the symptoms of eating disorders specifically display evident external red flags. These symptoms reveal themselves in both mental and physical characteristics. If you or a loved one possess any of these tell-tale indicators, it is important to seek immediate medical help, especially if paired with substance abuse. Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate the presence of an eating disorder.

Weight Fixation

If you find yourself continually fixated or concerned about weight gain or weight loss, you may suffer from some form of an eating disorder. If you are extremely self-conscious about your weight that directly affects your eating habits in an unhealthy manner, see a doctor to get help. Don’t let weight consciousness send you into a depressive downward spiral. There are some cases in which eating disorders and substance abuse coincide with the self-conscious party’s desire to achieve some drugs weight-loss effects. The combination of the two is a ticking time bomb for fatal consequences.

Social Eating Discomfort

People with eating disorders don’t just struggle with being self-conscious about what they eat but also who they eat around. You may suffer from an eating disorder if you find yourself being self-conscious about eating in public settings or social environments. You can take control of your circumstances instead of letting your circumstances take control of you by getting help today. A therapist can help you enjoy eating in social circles again.

Noticeable or Drastic Weight Fluctuation

Unhealthy weight loss or a noticeable drop in weight can be a direct result of unhealthy abstinence from food. Being self-conscious about weight and eating in social circles causes one struggling with an eating disorder to deprive themselves of food. If you or someone you love shows signs of unhealthy weight loss, don’t ignore the signs.

Muscle Aches

Unhealthy food abstinence starves your muscles from receiving the nutrients it needs. When this happens, it causes muscle degeneration, weakness, and aches. The longer you go without food, the more severe these aches and weaknesses become. When that progresses, your muscles break down and, in a sense, eat themselves as a defense mechanism to provide nutrients to the rest of your body.

What are the Different Types of Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders, like drug addictions, come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t just mean starving yourself. It can mean starving yourself, stuffing yourself, none of the above,  or even all of the above. If you’re still confused, the specifics below provide the simple clarity you need. Understanding these disorders and the link between eating disorders and substance abuse is key to fending off both.


Bulimia consists of two contrary extremes in one. It is believed that Bulimic involves solely starving yourself when that is not the case at all. Bulimia is very harmful to your body’s vital functions. One who is Bulimic will usually gorge themself with food before attempting an unnatural expunging of the food they just ingested. This means forcefully inducing vomiting, digesting laxative-based drugs, or excessive exercising after food consumption. These actions mainly stem from the self-consciousness about one’s weight. If you have thought about or exhibited any of these harmful actions or suspect you may have bulimia, contact a therapist today.


Anorexia is perhaps the most renowned eating disorder in the world. With this condition, those who suffer from anorexia believe they are larger than they are. In nearly every case, an individual with anorexia possesses an unhealthily low body weight. Anorexia makes the sufferer continually deprive themselves of food, which in turn deprives them of the necessary nutrients. When your body fails to receive the proper amount of nutrients, anorexia stifles proper oxygen content from being distributed among your organs. Over time, this has fatal effects on your body.


This less-common eating disorder involves the consumption of inanimate or otherwise non-edible objects. This would include things such as mud, and shampoo. What makes this disorder dangerous is the harmful effects some of the ingredients have on the consumer’s body. These sudden discrepant cravings are a mental imbalance beyond the individual’s control. However, they can be treated and even reversed with the proper care.

Binging Habits

Habitual binge eating is mostly the exact opposite of bulimia. With binge eating, you have little to no control over the amount of intake. Binge-eating is just as harmful as the aforementioned conditions for the opposite reason. With binge eating your body cannot regulate cholesterol and sugars properly.

What Are the Treatment Options for Co-occurring Disorders?

Treatment Options for Co-occurring DisordersCrossover conditions require specialized therapy in order to be treated effectively. Especially in overlapping cases of eating disorders and substance abuse, you need individualized care designed to treat your specific circumstances and struggles. Here are a few of the individually-based treatment options for crossover mental health conditions.


When multiple disorders are involved, interventions are among the most useful and efficient treatments to tackle your struggles. Interventions are compassionately designed to help you come to terms with the problem so you and your doctor can pave your recovery road accordingly.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy continues to establish itself to be one of the most successful therapies with each passing year. With such crossover conditions related to eating disorders and substance abuse, your mind needs to be processively retrained. This breakthrough therapy helps you disconnect the negative emotions intertwined with your thought processes and vice versa. In simpler terms, altering your behaviors is done by therapeutically altering your thought patterns through a medically-guided process.

EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy, short for Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, is not as difficult as it sounds. Scientific studies have concurred that specific eye patterns are tied to one’s emotional and mental state. In essence, involuntary eye-patterns trigger memories and emotions. A trained therapist can utilize these eye patterns to retrain how you think and feel about memories, circumstances, and substances.

A New Page In Recovery

Chapters Recovery Centers has all the tools you need to combat the co-occurring conditions of eating disorders and substance abuse struggles. You don’t have to be alone in your battles. Turn over that new page in your life today with Chapters Recovery Centers. The moment you make this moment could determine the rest of your story. You can write that story with a happy ending by reaching out now. Remission from your addiction and eating disorders are just a click away.