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Eating disorder treatment is intended to provide support and assistance for women struggling with eating disorders. The Mayo Clinic classifies eating disorders as a group of serious conditions in which you’re so preoccupied with food and weight that you can often focus on little else.

Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences, if they are not diagnosed and treated quickly and accurately. With the exception of binge-eating disorder, which affects men and women, eating disorders traditionally affect women to a much greater extent than men.

Does Eating Disorder Treatment Work for All Eating Disorders?

Eating disorder treatment can absolutely help with each category of eating disorders. The first thing we need to do is take a closer look at the three main eating disorders mentioned above.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by secret episodes of bingeing and purging. Meaning an individual will eat a large amount of food (bingeing) and then try to rid themselves of the calories by vomiting or exercising excessively (purging.)

Binge-eating disorder is when a person regularly, impulsively and uncontrollably eats inordinate amounts of food, far beyond the point of comfortably full.

Eating Disorders and Addiction

Eating disorder treatment has reliably linked eating disorders to substance abuse for quite some time, but it wasn’t until recently that we learned to what extent. In fact, new research indicates that up to 35% of substance abusers have eating disorders, and up to 50% of people with eating disorders also have or have had a problem with drugs or alcohol abuse.

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Because of this large statistical overlap, eating disorder treatment facilities will routinely screen their clients for substance abuse, and vice versa.

Bulimia and anorexia are the most commonly linked to addiction. There are two main correlations between addiction and eating disorders. An example of the first is a woman with a pre-existing eating disorder looking to such substances as caffeine, diuretics, tobacco, cocaine, and heroin to help control her weight through appetite suppression and increased metabolism, and unwittingly becoming dependent on those substances.

The other is the woman with an eating disorder who self-medicates with drugs and alcohol to attempt to counteract her negative emotions and poor body image.

What Does Eating Disorder Treatment Involve?

Eating disorder treatment that is effective and long-lasting will involve intense cognitive and behavioral therapy along with careful scrutiny towards the individual’s medical and nutritional needs.

Picking the proper eating disorder treatment facility with trained clinicians is essential as the sufferer will need to learn to alter their attitude towards food as well as their own body image in order to overcome their eating disorder which is no small feat.

When an eating disorder is coupled with substance abuse, this falls into the co-occurring illness category of dual diagnosis. As is true with all instances of dual diagnosis, the two disorders must be treated simultaneously in order to be effective.

Treating the eating disorder and not the substance abuse problem would be ineffective because of how entangled the two seemingly separate illnesses actually are. A quality eating disorder treatment facility will know the importance of addressing both issues.

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Destination Hope is a Joint Commission accredited drug, alcohol, and dual diagnosis treatment center located in beautiful South Florida. Destination Hope has vast experience treating the co-occurring illness of substance abuse and eating disorders, and has a nutritionist on staff to help with client special needs.

If there is a woman in your life who may have an eating disorder and maybe abusing drugs or alcohol to fuel or cope with it, please contact the experts at Destination Hope immediately. We have helped countless women put their negative feelings toward food and their own bodies behind them and helped direct them toward the healthy path of recovery, and we can do the same for you. Give us a call when you’re ready!

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