According to Dr. Russel Marx, Princeton HealthCare System: Those with eating disorders at higher risk for substance abuse. In an article on Friday, November 21, 2008 1:21 PM EST he states, "Risk factors for eating disorders and substance abuse are strikingly similar". Not great news for parents who have a child living with an eating disorder. As parents living with this constant worry and fear that eating disorders bring on we all know, there usually isn't much good news. But, at least we can have a heads up from this information.
Dr Marx asks us to consider these statistics from a groundbreaking study released in 2003 by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University:
• Individuals with eating disorders are up to five times more likely to abuse alcohol or illicit drugs.
• Those who abuse alcohol or illicit drugs are up to 11 times more likely to have eating disorders.
• Eating disorders occur in 5 to 10 million Americans, mostly girls and young women.
So, as parents or people who care about someone with an eating disorder what do we do with this information? Please share your ideas here. I cannot think of much besides:
1. Continue to practice "letting go with love"
2. Let your loved one's care providers know these stats
3. Have a conversation with your loved one stating that you are concerned
We would all like to hear if you have more suggestions for those of us who care about someone who has multiple addictions. I know Al-Anon is a great comfort to a lot of people, worth checking out if you are feeling consumed by worry about your loved one.
Dr. Russell Marx is a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of the Eating Disorders Program at University Medical Center at Princeton. He also is the author of the book “It’s Not Your Fault: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia.”
Next week: how to handle Thanksgiving with your loved one who is living with an eating disorder...today, my best advice...move to Canada,they already had theirs. Humor is essential.