When we think of eating disorders, we may not think about drug and alcohol addiction as a related issue. However, an important (and often overlooked) link exists between the two. Studies suggest that nearly half of individuals with eating disorders are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
Certain types of illicit and prescription drugs may seem more obviously correlated with eating disorders such as cocaine or psychostimulants but over-the-counter drugs are also widely used. Laxatives, diuretics, and weight loss pills are very common among individuals suffering from anorexia. Both substance abuse and eating disorders impact a person’s mental health and can cause serious physical complications like heart failure, malnutrition, and impair functioning of the immune system and digestive tract. Over 20 million people in the United States alone have suffered from addiction at some point in their lives and over 30 million have struggled with an eating disorder at some point. The more we bring awareness to these issues, the more we learn about prevention and getting help.
Many companies and local businesses are banding together to bring awareness to eating disorders. Want to support this cause? Wear blue and green this week and make sure to drive by some of your local landmark buildings to see what colors they are illuminating. The Empire State Building in New York City, The Wrigley Building in Chicago, and Houston’s very own Bank of America Plaza and Houston City Hall will be lit up blue and green in support. The National Eating Disorder Association is asking everyone to share pictures on social media of buildings displaying these colors with the hashtag #NEDAwareness.
Also, American Eagle Outfitters is selling a limited edition T-shirt and donating all proceeds to NEDA. You can buy this shirt here.
Please visit the NEDA website for more information: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Brina “BJ” Cash, MA, LPC-I, CART
For Cease Addiction Now, Inc.