Research on eating disorders has linked a strong connection between those with diagnosed eating disorders and substance misuse/abuse for many years.The NationalCenter on Addiction and Substance Abuse released their findings in a 2003 a report: Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders.The ColumbiaUniversity program foundup to fifty percent of individuals with eating disorders abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, compared with only nine percent of the general public. In exploring their statistics from the other direction, the NationalCenter on Addictions and Substance Abuse discovered that thirty-five percent of alcohol or illicit drug abusers have eating disorders in contrast to three percent of the general public.
There are many shared characteristics between substance abuse and eating disorders.Individuals struggling with one, the other, or both tend to have: obsessive preoccupation with the behavior, cravings for the item, secretive behaviors and rituals surrounding their patterns.Those struggling tend to experience mood altering effects from the behaviors and have social isolation when practicing their behaviors.There is a higher rate of risk of suicide and interaction with other psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety…).Both disorders are difficult to treat, are life threatening and have a high incident of relapse rates.Recovery from substance abuse and eating disorders require intensive therapy with qualified treatment staff.
Eating disorders and substance abuse have many shared risk factors in addition to their shared characteristics.Risk factors include: low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, impulsivity, unhealthy norms, social pressure from peers, and a possible history of physical or sexual abuse. Those individuals most susceptible to the messages from the media, advertising and the entertainment industry fall more easily into the negative behaviors. Risk factors for teens include unhealthy modeling by adults and the low monitoring of teen/s activities by parental figures.Both negative behaviors, substance abuse and eating disorders,tend to develop during times of transition for the individual- i.e. moving away from your primary support system, meeting new classroom expectations, living with strangers, prospect of graduation and the transition into the working world. In essence, the developmental phase of attending college and then graduating or leaving school makes one a prime target for the development of an eating disorder or substance misuse/abuse.
IowaStateUniversity offers multiple services to assist students who are concerned they or someone they care about is struggling with an eating disorder, substance abuse or both.An interdisciplinary team is available to assess student need and determine the appropriate care.Student Counseling Service (SCS), located on third floor of the StudentServicesBuilding, is a free service.Students are encouraged to contact SCS at 515-294-5056 for an intake session and allow our staff to explain our services- ED assessments, SA assessments and possible treatment options on campus or outside of campus.
February 26-March 4 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.We encourage all students to increase their understanding of this national epidemic affection 1 of 10 college aged females.Despite the history of eating disorders as being viewed as a female disease, current statistics demonstrate a tremendous increase in the number of males struggling with eating disorders as a direct impact of the change in the societal messages to men.
Please plan to attend “The Thin Line”- a Dramatic presentation on the struggle with eating disorders.The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session with IowaStateUniversity’s treatment team and later by small group discussions.The event will be held on Tuesday February 28, 2006 during two performances in the Memorial Union Sun Room.Both the 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. performances will be open to IowaStateUniversity staff, students and personnel as well as to the general public.This presentation will be appropriate for those aged Junior High and older.
For more information please contact: Michelle Roling M.Ed., LMHC Eating Disorder Coordinator SCS 294-0162 firstname.lastname@example.org