Eating disorders treatment is an important component of drug and alcohol treatment programs for women because they are often dual diagnosed together. While you might have known that women who suffer from eating disorders often also abuse substances, the latest research advances at Yale University provide some insight into why that is.
A recent study done using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows similar neural patterns between dependence on substances such as drugs and alcohol and those of addictive-like eating behavior.
The similarities between eating disorders and substance addiction have been widely acknowledged for quite some time causing the most advanced substance abuse treatment centers to also offer eating disorders treatment, but this study’s results are the first to show the similarities in the actual activity of the brain between the two.
The study showed that the reward center of the brain acted in much the same way as it does for substance addiction when cravings for desirable foods were present and then consumed. Furthermore, the study revealed that there is a possibility that some people are genetically predisposed to the brain activity that causes eating disorders, just as they may be to drug and alcohol addiction.
These findings illustrate the importance of eating disorders treatment within addiction treatment programs, and also offer a starting place for improved methods of eating disorders treatment and diagnosis.
Obesity currently affects one-third of all people in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of preventable deaths. 25 million women in the United States suffer from binge eating disorders and 10 million suffer from anorexia or bulimia. Eating disorders have been steadily increasing amongst women for decades, which is why effective eating disorders treatment is so important.
Looking at the parallels between addiction to drugs or alcohol and eating disorders, one can see that both are based strongly in compulsion and control or lack thereof; and with this study, it can be seen now that this is also due, at least in part, to similar brain function.
Another similarity that can be seen is in relapse. One of the hardest parts of battling addiction is avoiding a relapse after recovery, just as severe eating disorders can be difficult to keep at bay without proper treatment and care. Even with lower grade eating issues, when someone loses weight, it is not uncommon for them to gain it back again over a relatively short period of time.
Destination Hope: The Women’s Program offers dual diagnosis treatment of addiction and eating disorders. They understand that eating disorders treatment comes with the same importance as addiction treatment and in order to properly treat the women who suffer from both, they need to be able to treat all of the related issues.
By offering eating disorders treatment and addiction treatment together, they are able to help their patients to live the happier and healthier lives in which they are in control instead of their addictions.