Posts Tagged “Co-Occurring Disorders”
Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorders Comorbidity
Many individuals with eating disorders also struggle with alcohol and drugs. In fact, about half of all individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder also have a substance use disorder. Let’s take a look at the nature of both eating disorders and substance use disorders so we can examine their relationship and how to best treat these disorders when they co-occur.
Eating disorders are real, complex illnesses that are affected by biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors in an individual’s life. Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in eating or food behaviors and are often accompanied by negative body image. Eating disorders often co-occur with other mental health disorders such as substance use, anxiety, or depression. Eating disorders are categorized in the DSM-5 as follows:
Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia revolves around the restriction of food intake and an obsession with body weight, size, or shape. It is the most fatal of all mental illnesses. Warning signs in preteens and teens may include a refusal to maintain an age-appropriate weight, body dysmorphia, over-exercising, and restrictive behavior around food.
My Story of Chronic Illness and Eating Disorder Recovery
**This is one person’s story. Everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your discretion and speak with your therapist when needed.
Sarah Noelle Churchward discovered her love for writing at the age of six when she wrote her first book, “The Castle” which found great success with her family and teachers but never gained wide-spread success. Sarah dove into another one of her passions at the age of 15 when she became a professional makeup artist in the state of Washington. She has worked with Macy’s fashion shows, The Snohomish Historical Society’s Annual Zombie Walk, and many other freelance organizations. Taking her career in a slightly different direction, Sarah launched her own line of cosmetics at the age of seventeen. That same year, she started her blog, Thought Outlet, discussing passionate topics across the board. In February of 2018, Sarah ran into health issues and is currently taking a hiatus from school and work, she hopes to resume those endeavors as soon as possible.
Body image is often a complicated issue during recovery, unhooking one’s self-worth from their size/shape/weight/ etc., is one of the hardest and most essential steps towards a happy and recovered life. Media portrayal of eating disorders often focuses on the desire to look a certain way, with an underlying message of vanity and shame conveyed loud and clear. This appearance-based way of looking at body image only tells one part of the story.
Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Intimacy Difficulties
**Please be aware that this blog covers topics of trauma and abuse. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak to your therapist or support system as needed. If you need someone to speak to about sexual assault or abuse, reach out to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE. If you need to talk with someone or need help fleeing domestic violence, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
The existence of an eating disorder largely impacts a person’s ability and desire to be in sexual and/or emotionally intimate relationships. In those with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, or OSFED, one of the main symptoms is a concern about body weight, image, size, and/or shape. These body image disturbances and obsessive negative thoughts can create barriers to entering into an intimate relationship or can prevent intimacy in current relationships. Oftentimes, those with eating disorders struggle getting close to others because their eating disorder becomes their primary focus.