Understanding and Treating an Eating Disorder Addiction

Posted on 13. Dec, 2013 by in Disorders

There are some important socio-cultural factors which play a role in the occurrence of eating disorders for many women. (The appearance of eating disorders is about 90% in women.) However, there is a growing amount of research comparing eating disorders to addiction. This eating disorder addiction model may be an effective tool when it comes to treating disorders, when socio-cultural factors are also considered.

Many professionals today are noticing that there are certain patterns of behavior which are consistent in those who are suffering from eating disorders and those who are struggling with other types of addiction. These patterns include a loss of control, the tendency to be preoccupied with food (or the abused substance), the use of food to cope with problems, and a certain amount of secrecy regarding food consumption. One more pattern includes the ongoing use of these behavior patterns even though the person is suffering harm because of the behaviors.

Addictions affect certain pleasure centers of the brain. Just like cocaine abuse, eating disorders can activate those pleasure centers.

There is also some evidence to show that presence of eating disorder addiction is higher in those people who are suffering from other addictions. This link between substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) and eating disorders seem to point to an “addictive personality” and further promote the idea that eating disorders can be treated as addictions. This is true whether the person is struggling with bingeing or anorexia.

There are many eating disorders which could benefit when treatment is modeled on substance abuse or addiction treatments. These eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, bingeing, purging, and night eating.

In order to receive treatment for an eating disorder addiction, you should contact your doctor or a mental health professional. Be as honest as possible when discussing your habits and eating behaviors. Next, choose a counselor or therapist with experience specifically with eating disorders. You will also want to work with a registered dietitian. These professionals are often very knowledgeable about eating disorders, the consequences of the behavior patterns, and how to help you to eat properly as you work through your addiction.

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