Diet Culture and Addiction Recovery

by | Jan 11, 2019 | Dual Diagnosis

Diet Culture and Addiction Recovery

The impact that diet culture can have on individuals going through the addiction recovery process is profound and often harmful. Many people that struggle with an addiction are also dealing with a co-occurring eating disorder. These issues can fuel and exacerbate both conditions. Diet culture and addiction recovery are frequently at odds with one another. The belief that being skinny is essential to being healthy or attractive can have devastating consequences for those seeking to achieve a sober life. It’s important to understand how the conflict between diet culture and addiction recovery can make the process that much more challenging.

What is Diet Culture?

Before diving into the way in which diet culture can impact the recovery process, it’s important to define what diet culture is. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, diet culture is defined as “The belief that it is ok to risk the life of a fat person in order to make them skinny.” Diet culture puts an overemphasis on the weight of a person in relation to their health. This pushes the belief that in order to be considered healthy, you must also be skinny. This can overlook the many factors that contribute to one’s health, as many people who are considered “fat” can actually be healthier than those who are considered “skinny”.

Diet culture is focused on putting restrictions on the amount of food one can consume, regardless of the potential negative repercussions of such actions. Instead of being a sign of strength or willpower, this belief system can frequently cause a person to have an eating disorder. They become singularly focused on their weight as being the primary indication of their health. Social media has amplified this issue, as the visibility of those promoting diet culture has risen, contributing to the issue as a whole. Instagram, Facebook, and other sites can create a distorted view of what individuals should expect from themselves. This increases the unrealistic expectations many people have regarding their weight.

How Diet Culture and Addiction Recovery Impact Each Other

The process of becoming sober is certainly a struggle for many people. The act of breaking the habit of addiction requires a persistent, multi-faceted approach to achieve lasting results. Often, individuals struggling with an eating disorder who are in addiction recovery will put the act of becoming and staying sober ahead of their overall physical health. While achieving sobriety is certainly part of the picture, it is important to remember that it isn’t the only component to focus on. Maintaining one’s physical health is essential to achieving lasting recovery. In fact, studies have shown that not prioritizing nutrition during the recovery process can lead to reduced success rates.

A substance use disorder can negatively impact the body in a number of ways, including hormonal disruptions and nutritional deficiencies. These factors can cause a person to gain more weight than they would like while in recovery, as a substance may be contributing to keeping a person at a lower weight. For an individual immersed in diet culture, this can create a large amount of cognitive dissonance and make the recovery process difficult to maintain. It is important for individuals who are dealing with both a substance abuse disorder and an eating disorder to receive treatment for both conditions. Simply treating drug addiction won’t lead to positive health outcomes in the long run.

It is important to remember that proper nutrition is a major factor in achieving a sustained level of sobriety. Healing a body damaged by long-term substance abuse will require adequate levels of nutrition to help address mood changes as well as reduce overall stress levels. Additionally, receiving the correct amount of nutrition can reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol. This highlights how critical it is to transcend the damaging mindset that diet culture promotes. A person struggling with a substance use disorder and eating disorder must also address their feelings of low self-worth in order to overcome both conditions. This can be a contributing factor to individuals affected by diet culture.

Reach Out For Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, whether it is related to substance abuse or any other form of harmful dependence, contact Soul Surgery Rehab today. The path to sobriety can feel like an impossible battle, one that is difficult to be waged on your own. Our caring professionals can provide you with a trusted team of allies to help you stay focused on the path ahead. Soul Surgery Rehab offers you an invaluable support system that can prove priceless during this vulnerable time. Clients are offered a time-tested and proven model to attain their goal of achieving sobriety. Being in a therapeutic environment is conducive to healing. Don’t hesitate, call Soul Surgery Rehab today to start your recovery journey at our facility near Phoenix, AZ.

Soul Surgery
Soul Surgery Integrative Medicine Addiction Centers works with clients to bring healing and recovery for those suffering with drug and alcohol use, current or past trauma, mental health issues, and other life experiences. Located in Scottsdale, AZ, we provide addiction treatment, drug and alcohol detox, dual diagnosis treatment, mental health treatment, and medication assisted treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

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