The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) recently published a study describing the connection between eating disorders and chronic alcohol use. The study reveals that about one half of individuals who suffer clinically from an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa also abuse alcohol or other illicit drugs.
The CASA study shows how poor body image can play a powerful role in allowing these conditions to develop. Among the females studied and observed, the study shows that approximately forty percent of girls in first through fifth grade would like to or were actively trying to lose weight. This is an especially important statistic when viewed against the reality that only approximately fifteen percent of these students were actually overweight.
Poor body image is usually regarded as the culprit when thinking about individuals who suffer from eating disorders, but it is often overlooked in the ways that it is correlated with the potential for an individual to abuse alcohol or other illicit drugs. Suicide rates among individuals who suffer from alcoholism in combination with an eating disorder are significantly higher than that of the general population.
The physical repercussions of eating disorders and alcohol use are a serious concern. The potential for negative side effects is compounded when an individual suffers from an eating disorder and struggles with chronic alcohol use. The intense strain that the body undergoes on a consistent basis as a result of an eating disorder can cause permanent damage to vital organs and puts the individual at an increased risk for illness. When the body is in a survival state and is also dealing with chronic alcohol use, the risk for permanent physical side effects is significantly increased.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder and is using or abusing alcohol at the same time, we can help. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and point you toward quality recovery options. All calls and phone services are free, and we can even verify insurance benefits at no cost to you. We can help you find a healthy and happy life. Please call now.