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Why Eating Disorders & Addiction Are Inseparable

From the Show: HER
Summary: Research suggests that 50 percent of people who have an eating disorder are also abusing alcohol or drugs.
Air Date: 10/30/14
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Victoria Abel, MA, MNT, CAN
Victoria Abel, MA, MNT, CAN has been in the field of addiction and recovery since 1992, having received her first Masters in Counseling Psychology and training in dual diagnosis treatment centers.

After her daughter's critical illness was healed through a change in diet, her focus shifted to integrating food and nutrition in healing physical and mental issues. After completing a nutrition degree she combined her years as an addiction therapist and her passion for nutrition and created the Center for Addiction Nutrition.

She now consults at many treatment centers as well as one on one nutrition therapy with clients. She also is the nutrition therapist for Partners for Integrated Cancer Therapies. She provides nutrition information for patients fighting cancer and other diseases. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her now very healthy daughter.
Why Eating Disorders & Addiction Are Inseparable
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.
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