Co-occurring Disorders: Substance Use and Eating Disorders

co-occurring disorders

More than half of individuals living with an alcohol or substance use disorder meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis. When mental illnesses like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or eating disorders affect people living with addiction, such instances are referred to as co-occurring disorders.

When seeking addiction treatment, it is vital that men and women choose a center that can address both substance use and co-occurring mental illness. An inability to screen, diagnose, or treat the whole patient will result in poor recovery outcomes for dual diagnosis cases. Treating the entire patient is of critical importance when it comes to facilitating long-term recovery.

If a person begins a program of recovery and does not have a means of coping with the symptoms of their dual diagnosis, it puts her or him at high risk of relapse. At HVRC, our team of highly trained professionals is careful to address each patient’s mental health concerns throughout treatment. We rely on several therapeutic activities to help men and women manage their symptoms of mental illnesses, so they can heal and prosper in recovery.

Many individuals who seek substance use disorder treatment are unaware that they are battling with another form of mental disease. Following detox, a clearer picture of the patient emerges; this allows experts to diagnose and determine a course of action for managing any co-occurring psychological disorders affecting the client.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week, the National Eating Disorders Association bring disordered eating into the spotlight. The organization’s goal is to encourage society to fight back against diet culture, promote body acceptance, and encourage people struggling with eating disorders to seek help. They make clear that conditions like Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED), and Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is also about sharing facts with affected people and the general public. The association’s goal is to inspire hope in those suffering and let them know that a full recovery is possible. Since psychological disorders often accompany each other, it makes sense that many people battling an eating disorder may also contend with substance use disorder. Moreover, men and women living with eating disorders abuse drugs and alcohol regularly. It is also not uncommon for a person to work a program of eating disorder recovery and then develop an alcohol or substance use problem. The National Eating Disorders Association shares that:  

Up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders abused alcohol or illicit drugs, a rate five times higher than the general population. Up to 35% of individuals who abused or were dependent on alcohol or other drugs have also had eating disorders, a rate 11 times greater than the general population. 

Please take a moment to learn more about eating disorders and co-occurring substance use:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Substances that men and women with eating disorders abuse most frequently include:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin

During NEDAwareness week, we can all help in getting the word out that both substance use and eating disorders are treatable and recovery is possible. Please click here to join the conversation.


California Chemical Dependency Treatment Program

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we can help you or a loved one make lasting changes. We provide individualized care that prioritizes the psychological, social, spiritual, and physical aspects of the whole person. For more information regarding our program, please contact us today.