Eating disorders are dangerous and sometimes life threatening for individuals who suffer from addiction. Eating disorders have a high rate of mortality because of the risk to the body over time. Addiction is typically seen by people as one which revolves around drugs or alcohol but rarely food. Learn more about eating disorders and how to help a loved who may be suffering.
Anorexia can cause a person to die prematurely from complications related to the eating disorder but may also include suicide or heart conditions. When an individual is bulimic, the person consumes more food than the body needs which provides pleasure and comfort. The activities of both anorexic and bulimic addiction limit freedom to eat in a normal, healthy way which results from unhealthy patterns of coping with stress or other life issues effectively.
Dealing with Pain
A person with an eating disorder is making deliberate choices on how to cope with painful circumstances in life. Choosing food as a coping mechanism is a form of control over painful situations which eventually evolved into addiction. Any addiction appears attractive at the outset but over time the promises addiction delivers fall short and dangers begin to emerge.
An eating disorder may feel like a ‘safe’ addiction which does not alter the mind or impair one’s ability to function. When a person repeatedly turns to an activity for comfort, calming presence or distraction, food can turn into an obsession like any other addiction (gambling, drinking, drugs, promiscuity). Food feels like a safe addiction until it begins to take over one’s life. The potency and power of choosing food as an addictive substance builds a delusional mindset that a person can control how much food is being consumed and still be healthy. Hope and freedom come when a person realizes there is no locus of control and the food has, in fact, taken over one’s life and the individual is powerless over the addiction. From this step comes hope for recovery.
It is possible to overcome an eating disorder with the right community and support. Making good choices includes surrounding oneself with positive people and conducting an honest self-evaluation of personal strengths and challenges which are the key to long-term mental and physical health. If a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, seek professional help. Families are impacted by an individual’s addiction but help exists to support everyone in healing and moving forward in recovery.
Recovery from an eating disorder is possible with the help and support of professional staff. Call us to find out how we can help your loved one learn to cope better with food and life with our innovative treatment programs.