Eating disorders can be a primary catalyst in seeking relief through drugs and/or alcohol. With the consideration of an eating disorder being any range of psychological disorders which are characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits, it is safe to say that eating disorders center in the mind-just like alcoholism and drug addiction. Through personal experience and knowledge gained from working in the field of addiction and recovery, it is my belief that the desire to control is one of the primary characteristics of an eating disorder- just as the desire to control is predominant for many people seeking recovery and a better way of life. Although there are common characteristics among those in recovery, the struggle with an eating disorder presents a unique and, at times, difficult challenge. One, for example, cannot choose abstinence from food like one can from drugs and alcohol. This makes the treatment of an eating disorder trickier and more difficult.
Considering that nutrition provides the sustenance for life, the key is to get mental health support whether this be behavioral therapy that will help slowly shift attitudes and behaviors around food, body image, and size, or traditional talk therapy to help resolve underlying issues. A huge part of this process is stabilizing one’s emotions and coming to accept who they are especially in relation to their body image. Getting in touch with those emotions and learning to separate them from body hunger cues is a vital first step. Continued cognitive behavioral therapy and practicing self love and acceptance is an effective means of living in recovery from an eating disorder. Of course, just like any other addiction or disorder, it is necessary to acutely address the addiction/disorder head on with a hyper-focused treatment module in place. This is especially true for eating disorders and it is highly recommended to attend an inpatient facility while continuing with an effective aftercare plan and different way of life afterwards.
For those struggling with an eating disorder you may feel like you’ll never be happy or satisfied until you lose weight, and that your worth is measured by how you look. The truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are-and that is only possible with recovery.