An eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, is an incredibly serious mental and physical condition. Although eating disorders affect every person a little differently, there are some common factors that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder. One of these factors can be another disorder, such as meth addiction.
In order to understand how a meth addiction can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, it is important to understand how meth affects a person mentally and physically.
What is Meth?
Meth – also known as methamphetamine – is an illegal stimulant drug. Like many other drugs in this category, it is extremely powerful and highly addictive. Almost always, meth takes the form of a bluish-white crystal or a white powder.
Effects of Meth Abuse
Meth abuse and addiction can have a number of effects on an individual. When consumed, meth primarily affects a person’s central nervous system, allowing it to impact an individual’s body and mind. As a stimulant, meth speeds up the functions and interactions in the brain, resulting in an increase in energy and alertness for a user. However, this higher speed of functioning also impacts the body, forcing a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a higher body temperature, and higher blood pressure.
Consequences of Meth Addiction
While some of the effects of meth abuse can appear beneficial, such as increased energy, meth abuse and addiction come with a variety of unintended consequences. For many, meth abuse has a negative impact on their social lives, occupation, finances, education, hobbies, and more. However, some of the most significant effects occur in the body of someone who abuses meth.
In general, meth addiction can lead to numerous side effects on a person’s health, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Dental problems
- Memory loss
- Issues sleeping
- Violent behavior
Many of these side effects occur due to the immense effect meth can have on the brain. When consumed repeatedly, meth can modify the brain’s structure. In doing so, it can affect an individual’s behavior and mood.
What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are unique to the person experiencing them. However, all eating disorders share some similarities. According to the American Psychological Association, an eating disorder is a condition that develops when a person engages in abnormal eating habits and behaviors that threaten their health. In some cases, a person’s eating disorder may also be a threat to their life if their weight or habits reach dangerous levels.
Although it is considered normal to worry about one’s weight and diet, especially since these factors impact one’s health and appearance, many people with an eating disorder take those worries to the extreme. In such cases, worries about their appearance and their eating habits overshadow nearly everything else in their lives. However, this is not the only type of eating disorder.
Types of Eating Disorders
Despite some minor differences, most eating disorders fall into one of three categories, which include:
#1 Anorexia Nervosa
Individuals living with anorexia nervosa usually believe that they are overweight (even if they are extremely thin) and restrict their eating – sometimes to the point of starvation.
#2 Bulimia Nervosa
Individuals living with bulimia nervosa typically believe that they are overweight but continue to eat anyway. However, in order to achieve their ideal body image, an individual with bulimia nervosa will purge their body after eating – either by forcing themselves to vomit or using laxatives.
#3 Binge Eating
Unlike anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, an individual with a binge eating disorder prioritizes food over their body image. These individuals typically engage in consuming large quantities of food without regard for their weight or health.
How Do Eating Disorders Develop?
Eating disorders can develop due to a number of factors. However, one of the most important factors is a person’s perception of themself. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia occur because a person holds a warped body image of themself, constantly believing that they are overweight. However, a binge eating disorder is usually caused by a person using food to self-medicate. In this case, food is a source of pleasure and consuming it makes the person feel better.
Can Meth Addiction Cause an Eating Disorder?
Meth addiction can be the cause of a variety of other conditions, including mental and physical health problems or eating disorders. Over time, meth abuse affects several areas of the brain. These areas often correspond with behavior and mood.
Once these areas in the brain are damaged and changed, a person is more likely to engage in addictive behavior, which requires them to learn greater self-control than others. For some, an eating disorder can be due to having a lack of self-control that is brought on by addictive behavior. For others, an eating disorder is caused by a meth addiction because their weight or figure is something they can control by not eating or purging what is eaten.
However, having a meth addiction is not the only way an eating disorder can develop. An eating disorder can also develop due to certain genetic predispositions, specific environments, and trauma.
Treating Eating Disorders and Meth Addiction
Sadly, a person can live with both an eating disorder and meth addiction simultaneously. The combination of these disorders can have a severe effect on a person’s mental and physical health. In order to treat a person like this effectively, both disorders must be treated at the same time. Treating one or the other will not solve the entirety of the problem. In fact, if one is left untreated, it makes a person more likely to relapse back into their eating disorder or meth addiction.
Searching for Treatment for Meth Addiction, Anorexia, Bulimia, or Binge Eating?
Meth addiction, anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are all serious but treatable disorders. If you or a loved one is living with one or more of these conditions, help is available near you! At Knoxville Recovery Center, our team of addiction specialists and mental health professionals offer a variety of treatments that can address not only one but multiple disorders and conditions. In doing so, we offer comprehensive healing. Contact us today for more information!