Replacing one addiction for another is very common with people that are in recovery. Early recovery can be difficult for you because you are not only trying to stop doing the actions of your addiction and live a recovery lifestyle, but you also must clean up any of the mess you made while doing it. This may cause some major stress for you since you no longer have the option to do what you normally do to get you through stressful situations. Triggers and cravings may arise because you are missing the reward and reinforcement you got through drugs and alcohol. Since mind-altering substances are no longer a part of your life, it is easy to turn to another addiction to compensate for the feeling of reward and reinforcement that you believe you are missing out on. You may turn to food as a replacement to your addiction because food is readily available for you to get.

Men and women both may stop drug and alcohol abuse and begin to abuse food. Due to the same reward and reinforcement system, eating disorders can emerge in people that already have a predisposition for addiction. Distorted body image and an irregular relationship with food can help create an eating disorder. Sufferers are in constant struggle to conform to an unhealthy ideal image or, alternately, are unable to control their eating that leads to obesity. The need for control and unresolved emotional and psychological issues in recovery can lead to eating disorders. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating.

Anorexia Nervosa

A disorder in which individuals starve themselves or over exercise to maintain a low body weight.

  • Emaciated body
  • Sunken cheeks
  • Fear of weight gain
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Anemia
  • Infrequent menstrual cycles
  • Thinning or loss of hair
  • Baby fine hair on face or body
  • Lethargic
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

Bulimia Nervosa

A person with bulimia has periods of excessive binging followed by purging.

  • Weight Fluctuation
  • Enlarged glands on the neck or under the jaw line
  • Damaged teeth and gums
  • Sores on mouth and throat
  • Swollen cheeks
  • Russell’s sign
    • Fingers are calloused and discolored from inducing vomit
  • Thin or dull hair
  • Dry skin
  • Lethargic
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

Binge Eating

Men and women eat large amounts of food even when full or eating rapidly during a binge episode.

  • Obesity
  • Lack of control with food
  • Hoarding food
  • Eating alone
  • Hiding food containers
  • Shame
  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

There is help to get through eating disorders. New Vista Behavioral Health is committed to helping you on your road to long term recovery. Begin our partnership today by calling 888-316-3665.



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