Eating Disorders and ADHD
Anorexia nervosa is a mental health disorder when you do not eat anything which can lead to an unhealthy weight with a constant fear of gaining even a little weight. Bulimia nervosa is when you eat a large amount of food only to get rid of it all out of shame like purging or taking laxatives. Binge eating is having moments of non-stop eating. Because people with ADHD have poor impulse control and have trouble controlling their emotions, they are more likely to have an eating disorder and both must be treated simultaneously.
According to a Harvard Medical School study done in 2007, girls with ADHD are four times more likely to have an eating disorder than those that do not have ADHD. When those with ADHD feel stressed and inferior, they turn to food as a comfort and an unhealthy outlet to gain control back. People with ADHD and anorexia feel like the information they read on diets and healthy foods can be too much for them to handle. Anorexics and those with ADHD tend to be scared of becoming adults and having adult responsibilities as well as having difficulty finding careers, managing money, and relationships. By starving their body, they are keeping themselves away from maturing.
In order for a dual diagnosis such as having an eating disorder and ADHD to be successful, both of them need to be treated simultaneously instead of one after the other. It requires a team of psychiatrists, physicians, psychologists, and nutritionists. It is important to find out how an eating disorder is affected by ADHD and how ADHD affects an eating disorder. These patients feel conflicted about how to feel about treatment as they want to be free from the torment that both of these diagnoses bring but they also do not want to gain weight which is a worry that they need to express to a professional.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help patients talk about the negative thought patterns and unhealthy behaviors that a patient is experiencing in order to make the best plan for them. It can be strategies like eating healthy, carefully structured meals, and new coping skills. Using medications for bulimia and ADHD can promote impulse control to prevent binge eating like Vyvanse. It is important to protect your body by eating healthy as well as taking care of your ADHD that it does not make symptoms worse.