The Importance of Treating Addictions and Eating Disorders Simultaneously

People battle eating disorders and addictions simultaneously more often than you might think. And living with two illnesses at the same time is no walk in the park.

An estimated 35% of people who suffer from addiction also have an eating disorder, while up to half of people who struggle with an eating disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol. While it might not seem like it at first, these conditions share a lot of characteristics:

  • A person’s eating behaviors or substance use may escalate in frequency or intensity and become difficult to control.
  • Someone who has these conditions may become too preoccupied with eating rules, eating behaviors, or substance use to spend time doing the things they love.
  • A person who has an eating disorder or suffers from addiction may start to isolate themselves from friends and family, and they most likely feel intense shame about their behaviors.
  • Someone who has either of these conditions may also keep abusing substances or eating in certain ways despite any damage to their life or relationships.

This can make it difficult to tell where one illness ends and the other begins. When someone is struggling with both an eating disorder and an addiction, treatment for one condition at a time might seem like the logical solution. But the truth is that leaving one behavioral health condition untreated puts a person at risk for experiencing greater harm in the future. That’s why it’s so important to get treatment for both conditions at the same time.

Start with a Detailed Screening
To give yourself the best chance for long-term success, make sure that the behavioral health treatment you receive starts with a screening that looks for multiple behavioral health conditions. This will ensure that you receive care that addresses every concern you are facing.

When you receive treatment at a place like Timberline Knolls, you know that you’re getting comprehensive support for any underlying conditions. We provide care for women and adolescent girls who are suffering from more than one condition, including concerns like eating disorders and addictions, and we conduct a detailed screening to make sure that each of our clients gets the most appropriate care right from the start.

Care for Both Conditions
Eating disorders and addictions affect everyone differently, which is why the care team at Timberline Knolls customizes each client’s treatment based on a thorough evaluation of her medical history and symptoms.

We typically integrate psychoeducation into the treatment we provide so that our clients can gain a better understanding of how living with both an addiction and an eating disorder can impact their life. This can also make the path to recovery less intimidating because the steps to get there are clearer.

Many of our clients benefit from meal support during all meals and snacks, along with nutrition consultations that can help them learn how to eat to nourish their body. Throughout their time with us, clients can work to build a healthier relationship with food and their body while also getting to the root of their struggles with addiction.

Combining treatment for both behavioral health conditions can allow our clients to do powerful work, creating a strong foundation they can continue to build on after they leave our center. By getting treatment that addresses both concerns, our clients can set the groundwork for recovery that lasts.