Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross shares the relationship between eating disorders and addiction.
Read the full transcript »
EmpowHer asks: What is the relationship between eating disorders and addiction? Dr. Carolyn Ross: Well, eating disorders are very much related to additions of all kinds, and also to more disorders, but let's just talk first about addictions. So about 8-20% of people with anorexia also have chemical dependency issues, whether it be alcohol or other substances. And even higher percent of individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder also have problems with drug and alcohol abuse or dependence. So why does that happen? How are those two related? Well, there are a number of different reasons. Some of them have to do with what the purpose is that the addiction is serving. And many people feel that depression maybe the underlying reason why eating disorders and substance use disorders go hand in hand or a co-occurring as we say. As well, many people with both substance use disorders and eating disorders have a history of a trauma or abuse in their lives. This is another common reason why those go together. So if you have one, it's likely that someone in your family has had either depression, chemical dependency or an eating disorder. So there is a familial risk as well between those disorders.