Associated Mental Health Conditions and Addictions

Many addictions and illnesses are associated with eating disorders which coexist together and sometimes they are unnoticeable.

In people who suffer from Eating Disorders it is not uncommon to find other associated psychological disorders that co-exist with their Anorexia, Bulimia and/or Compulsive Overeating. In some cases, their Eating Disorder is a secondary symptom to an underlying psychological disorder (such as some people who also suffer with Multiple Personality Disorder), and in other cases, the psychological disorder may be secondary to the Eating Disorder (as with some people also suffering with Depression). Men and women may also suffer from both an Eating Disorder and other psychological disorder(s) that completely co-exist with one another… or they can suffer from an Eating Disorder and have little or no signs of an additional psychological disorder (Note: The longer a person suffers, the more probable that they may be dealing with Depression or Anxiety as well). It is important to the recovery process and treatment that all these issues are addressed, and that a proper diagnosis be determined.

Some of the psychological illness that can be (but are not always) found in people suffering with Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating are: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, BiPolar and BiPolar II Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic Disorders and anxiety, and Dissociative Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder.

In addition, some people suffering with an Eating Disorder may also be exhibiting other addictive or self-destructive behaviors. As an Eating Disorder is a reaction to a low self-esteem, and a negative means of coping with life and stress, so are other types of addictions. These can include alcoholism, drug addiction (illegal, prescription and/or over-the-counter medications), and self-injury, cutting and self-mutilation.

Harming oneself, also known as cutting, self-mutilation, or SIV (self-inflicted violence) is a coping mechanism that is sometimes found in people also suffering with an Eating Disorder. For some, they may find it easier to deal with real physical pain than to deal with their emotional pain, or some may feel emotionally numb and using SIV reminds them that they are alive. They may even feel that they deserve to be hurt. It can be used to block out emotional pain, or to make the person feel “strong”. It is a way to cope with stress and anger, shame and guilt, sadness, and as a release for emotions that have built up inside. SIV can be mild to severe, but it should never be confused with a conscious attempt to commit suicide (though some may die as a result of their actions, this is relatively uncommon). SIV can include cutting, burning, punching, slapping, hitting oneself with an object, eye-pushing, biting and head-banging, and less common methods would be those that have long-lasting or life-long effects such as bone breaking, or amputation.

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