Eating disorders can occur because of body image issues and anxiety. Teens are also at risk of using drugs and alcohol. Teens with mental health disorders are more likely to use psychoactive substances, which makes disordered eating and substance abuse strongly connected.
Adolescence is a difficult time for teens. Puberty, social pressures, and academics can make it difficult to manage responsibilities and avoid poor decisions. Teens are still developing cognitively, as the centers for logical decision making in the brain do not fully mature until the mid-to-late 20s. That makes teens more likely to submit to peer pressure, make risky and dangerous decisions, and to experience anxiety. If your teen struggles with an addiction and mental health problem, it’s vital to seek dual diagnosis treatment. Contact our North Carolina treatment center today to learn more.
Disordered Eating and Substance Abuse
Nearly 4% of teens between the age of 13 and 18 have an eating disorder. Furthermore, the US government estimated that nearly 401,000 struggled with alcohol addiction. When you meet the criteria for mental health and a substance abuse disorder, you develop a co-occurring disorder. Disordered eating and substance abuse are a common combination of co-occurring disorders in teens. Eating disorders can develop as a response to depression, trauma, anxiety, and body image problems.
Examples of eating disorders include:
- Binging and purging
- Anorexia nervosa
Eating disorders can occur because of insecurities about weight and can cause severe health problems, such as malnutrition and cardiovascular conditions. Disordered eating and substance abuse are also connected because substance abuse problems can worsen the symptoms of an eating disorder and vice versa.
A substance abuse disorder can involve prescription and illicit substances, such as:
- Prescription opiates, like Vicodin and OxyContin
Because eating disorders can cause severe weight loss, using drugs and alcohol is especially dangerous because those with an eating disorder can be more prone to experiencing an overdose. When disordered eating and substance abuse disorders co-occur, recovering requires treating both conditions at the same time. Both conditions have unique triggers and require individualized treatment, as many people with eating disorders have another mental health condition, such as PTSD.
Teen Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
Eating disorders and substance abuse problems require treatment, as they can both become progressively worse until recovery occurs. Teen co-occurring disorder treatment can occur in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Eating disorder treatment may require inpatient treatment, as severe nutritional deficiencies can cause serious medical problems that mandate a higher level of care.
If you have a physical addiction to a psychoactive substance, a teen inpatient program can offer medically supervised detox services to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, some substances can cause potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms, which can be avoided by completing a detox program.
Inpatient and outpatient teen substance abuse treatment programs combine evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies. Evidence-based treatments that a teen rehab program can offer include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Medication management
- Family counseling
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
Therapy helps you learn how to identify and change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Another important aspect of teen recovery programs is constructing a detailed relapse prevention plan. Both disordered eating and substance abuse disorders carry the risk of relapse.
Finding ways to adapt to major life changes and manage stress can reduce cravings and improve mood, which decreases your chances of relapsing. Holistic therapies, like deep-breathing and Yoga, can improve cognition and offer a safe way to cope with cravings and triggers. Teen substance abuse treatment programs can also offer nature and animal therapy.
Exploring Your Treatment Options
With disordered eating and substance abuse disorders strongly related, many teen treatment centers specialize in co-occurring conditions. Ensuring that both conditions are treated ensures that recovery is possible. If your teen is struggling with an eating disorder or substance abuse problem, contact us today at 866.300.5275 to explore your treatment options.