Research suggests that 50 percent of people who have an eating disorder are also abusing alcohol and/or drugs.

When behavioral addictions like drug and alcohol are pulled away, many recovering addicts may turn to an eating disorder to feel that sense of control and ability to punish themselves, or as an escaping mechanism.

However, it can also work the other way. If someone is fighting an eating disorder, they may to turn to drugs and alcohol.

If patients who are newly sober continue to eat large amounts of processed, high-fat and sugary foods, the addictive cycle in the brain continues. Not to mention your body is detoxing the chemicals from the drugs or alcohol and needs to be properly fueled in order to heal in a healthy way.

Usually drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers are focused on treating just the addiction and don’t often consider healing the addict as a whole. Treats like doughnuts or candy and coffee are often shared during AA and NA meetings, and nutrition during inpatient and outpatient treatments is overlooked.

However, by treating an addict’s body as a whole, rather than just treating the addiction, can increase the addict’s chances of a successful recovery and a healthy life. This includes teaching proper nutrition and different types of exercises, as well as therapy.

What else do you need to know about nutrition, addiction and eating disorders?

Victoria Abel, MS, MNT, shares why addiction and eating disorders are related and why it’s so important to teach proper nutrition in treatment facilities.