According to ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, two thirds of people who live with an eating disorder also live with an anxiety disorder. Considering the statistic that 30% of the adult population lives with an anxiety disorder, that is a significant consideration. A majority of people living with one is likely to also live with the other. Eating disorders and anxiety disorders on their own can be challenging to live with. Combined, the disorder or anxiety and the anxiety of an eating disorder could be crippling to one’s quality of life.
Women’s Health Magazine reports that “recent research suggests that a predisposition to anxiety may be related to abnormal activity of serotonin, a chemical in the brain responsible for regulating mood, and that people who develop eating disorders tend to have this abnormal serotonin activity, too,” since the link between anxiety and eating disorders still isn’t clear.
Screening for eating disorders in those diagnosed with anxiety and vice versa could be a life-saving intervention. Properly assessing and treating dual diagnosis issues is essential to full recovery. Without treating anxiety in someone with a primary eating disorder, for example, they might continue to live with the symptoms of anxiety. As the article cites, “…people who recover from eating disorders may still have the high anxiety and driven mentality and start channeling that into new ‘obsessions,’ such as school or work,” emphasizing that ultimately, “recovery means…that behavior isn’t compulsive or driven by an attempt to avoid feeling anxious.” Such behaviors could include a relapse into a different kind of eating disorder, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, workaholism, or more.
Recovery from eating disorders and anxiety disorders is possible with the right clinical treatment which holistically approaches both disorders individually and as they are co-occurring. Important to the clinical therapeutic healing is learning how to make impactful lifestyle changes from balancing diet and exercise to creating a meaningful social circle. Living with co-occurring anxiety and eating disorders can lead to isolation. The anxiety of coping with eating disorder symptoms and vice versa can lead someone to many avoidant behaviors which minimizes their social life. Integrative treatment which transforms all areas of life is essential to lifelong recovery.
Avalon Malibu provides trusted treatments for co-occurring eating disorders and anxiety disorders. Our beautiful estate on the iconic cliffside of the Malibu coast is the home to our renown mental health treatment facility, one of California’s only primary care centers. For a confidential assessment and more information, call 1 888-958-7511.