There is usually a connection between eating disorders and alcoholism. For example, boozing and drinking parties were clear examples when I was at university. Almost the heavy drinkers were easy to mess due to their sloppy life styles and poor health. However, eating disorders easily leads to an illness, so they were more covert and harder to mess. I met some girls who are eating disorders. I would like to share something with them.
The psychology course that I took in eating disorders viewed eating disorders as a behavioral problem. Other books and an eating disorder group suggested that the problem was rooted to the family. Even though I did notice some angry parents of anorexic girls, it was hard to say which came first. The angry parents or the daughters with the eating disorders.
While family dynamics play a role, I am a strong believer in the biochemical side of mental and physical health. For instance, zinc supplementation can help with the treatment of anorexics. Compulsive eaters are often deficient of certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron and protein. (Strict vegans take note.) Alcoholics are almost always deficient in B vitamins and protein.
In some ways, an alcoholic can often be considered to have an eating disorder. Consider alcohol experiments with rats. When the rats were starved or given nutrient-deficient food, they drank more alcohol. Without much surprise, humans often do the same.
With the exceptions of some alcoholic athletes, most alcoholics have poor appetites. They will consume “empty calories” in the form of alcohol or junk food before choosing to eat a good meal. This depletes their vitamins, which makes them even hungrier. Yet, instead of regular food, they will reach for more alcohol. And the downward spiral continues.
Is there a direct link to this addiction and an eating disorder? One study worthy of note was one of over 2,000 female twins (from the Virginia population-based twin register). Many of the female twins in this study, who had bulimia nervosa, also had alcoholism. So, this may tie back into the theory of alcoholism and eating disorders as being genetic. Which is good news and more simple to treat than with drugs or psycho-therapy. Relief from both ailments can be as simple as vitamin and mineral supplementation or a better nutrition.