In 2021, the World Drug Report showed that approximately 36 million people suffer from substance use disorders. However, many of these people never receive treatment.
Substance abuse has a profound effect on your physical, physiological, and emotional well-being. Without treatment, substance use can exacerbate problems in other areas of your life, like your eating habits.
Drug use can significantly affect your eating patterns and increase the risk of developing an eating disorder.
Keep reading to learn more about the link between substance abuse and eating disorders.
How Substance Abuse Affects Your Eating Patterns
Substance use disorder is the persistent use of drugs and alcohol, despite the damage and issues they cause. Alcohol and drug use can affect your health, your relationships, and your ability to maintain your responsibilities. This becomes problematic when these areas of your life are suffering, but you continue to use.
Drugs and alcohol also change the way that you eat. If you are preoccupied with drug use, chances are, you’ve developed poor eating habits. Drugs affect nutrition, decrease your appetite, and deplete vital nutrients.
Here are some ways that drugs can affect your eating patterns:
- Lack of appetite with use
- Avoiding food to increase your high
- Use of laxatives for detoxification
- Overeating while hungover
- High sugar craving without the drug of choice
These are some of the ways that drug use can affect your eating. The symptoms will vary depending on the individual and the drug.
The Connection Between Substance Abuse Disorder and Eating Disorders
When it comes to substance use and eating disorders, they can be considered a co-occurring disorder.
For some, they have an underlying eating disorder that makes them prone to substance abuse. For others, their substance abuse affects their eating. It is not known which one comes first, but it is likely that one exacerbates the other.
It is common for people to gain and lose weight during the process of drug use and even recovery. People also exhibit symptoms of one condition when managing urges of the other. For example, feeling the urge for an alcoholic drink and opting for a high-sugar, high-calorie meal instead.
These types of eating habits are common with certain substance use disorders. Some are more common than others.
Common Eating Disorders With Substance Abuse
Two of the most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. While the symptoms of bulimia include a cycle of bingeing and purging, anorexia is characterized by restricting food intake.
Bulimia nervosa is most commonly linked to substance use disorders. While alcohol consumption is one of the most common drugs associated with eating disorders, other drugs are also prevalent. These include stimulants, opiates, caffeine pills, and marijuana.
If you’re suffering from these two disorders, getting treatment for both is necessary for successful recovery.
Understanding the Link Between Substance Abuse and Eating Patterns
To break unhealthy eating patterns with substance use disorders, it is important to recognize how they are connected. Not only can one condition exacerbate the other, but it is also difficult to treat one without the other.
If you found this article helpful, keep coming back to our informative blog for more on substance abuse treatment.