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Women and Food Addiction in Drug Rehab

Food addiction among women is a common occurrence; in drug rehab, it is almost ubiquitous: women who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol very often also have co-occurring food disorders. These disorders look different in different women, but some of the most common include bulimia, anorexia, binging, yo-yo dieting and weight loss. Living with co-occurring disorders of drug addiction and food addiction can make the experience of drug rehab doubly difficult for women. The only solution is a drug addiction treatment program that addresses both disorders simultaneously.

Food Addiction in Women Addicts

For most female food addicts, eating is emotional. Just like with drugs and alcohol, the tendency is to hide the amount of food eaten, lie about what was eaten or how much, and eat differently alone as opposed to in front of other people. For drug addicts who are also addicted to food, food may be used in an attempt to ease withdrawal symptoms or to replace drugs or alcohol when trying to quit alone. Unfortunately, when drug addiction and food addiction exist simultaneously, food often compounds the problem of drug addiction: female addicts tend to eat inappropriately despite emotional and physical consequences, organize their lives and choices based on food, or trying to control the addiction by making severe choices and placing rigid and arbitrary limitations upon their eating.

Food addiction and drug addiction can manifest so similarly that it is extremely helpful to apply the coping skills learned at drug rehab to recovery from food addiction at the same time.

Why Do Women Addicted to Drugs Have Food Addictions?

Just like drugs, food serves to provide some women with a means of escape. Bad self esteem, trauma, problems in relationships or at work, and chronic depression are all primary reasons that many women first turn to drugs and food. The “happy” chemicals released by eating comfort foods or sweets are similar in some ways to those released by using drugs, though on a smaller scale and for a shorter period. Unfortunately, the resulting health issues and the compulsive behavior as well as the constant cravings make it almost impossible to stop effectively and safely without professional help at an addiction treatment center.

Developing a New Food Addiction During Drug Rehab

Another phenomenon is the woman who begins drug rehab addicted to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana or some combination thereof, and finds that she replaces her drug of choice with compulsive behavior with food. Replacing drugs with another obsession-food, a new relationship, gambling, sex, et cetera-is extremely unhealthy as the focus should be on finding a healthful balance in your life that allows you to feel free rather than tethered to any one thing or activity. Notice how you are feeling as you progress through recovery and share your concerns about developing food addictions and other co-occurring disorders with your therapist and counselors to make sure that you get the treatment you need.

If you would like more information about co-occurring disorders, food addiction or how drug and alcohol addiction affects women, contact The Orchid and start your healing process today.

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