Teen Drug and Eating Disorders
Most teen drug treatment professionals will agree that teens with eating disorders share risk factors with teens who abuse substances. They also say that there are shared characteristics in both addictions. Up to half the adolescents that have eating disorders abuse drugs and/or alcohol. It is said that 35% of teens who abuse drugs and alcohol have eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Teens at risk for both addictions share risk factors including low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, an approval seeking personality, the tendency to be impulsive and are usually experiencing stress or a transition of some sort. Those suffering from co-occurring disorders like eating disorders combined with drug addiction often use caffeine, alcohol, laxatives, amphetamines, emetics, cocaine and heroin. These substances relieve anxiety and stress, may suppress ones appetite and rid the body of excess or unwanted calories. Characteristics in both might include chronic disease with a high rate of relapse, preoccupation with behaviors such as; using drugs, drinking, eating or not eating, secretiveness, rituals and compulsive behavior. The combination of both addictions may be life threatening and usually requires intensive treatment.Mental health professionals say that often times teen eating disorders and teen drug abuse go hand in hand.