Eating Disorders & Substance Abuse Disorders

Healing eating disorders and substance use disorders at the same time

Research has shown that up to half of people with eating disorders may also struggle with substance use disorders including alcohol or drugs. It’s possible for a substance use disorder to start before, during or after developing an eating disorder and can make recovery more difficult.

What is a substance use disorder?

Someone with a substance use disorder might know it is affecting their life and health, but is unable to stop using.

It’s unclear why those with an eating disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorders, but we do know both conditions share common risk factors.

Diagnosing an eating disorder

If you think you could have an eating disorder, the first step is to make an appointment for an initial assessment at Melrose Center. One of our primary care clinicians will ask about your medical history, symptoms, substance use issues, concerns and answer your questions.

Treating eating disorders and substance use disorder

Intensive outpatient treatment

Our intensive outpatient program works with individuals to learn new behaviors and develop skills that support their recovery. This program provides treatment focused on supporting patients as they transition skills they’ve learned to their real life situations. The intensive outpatient treatment program typically includes:

  • Three hours of group programming twice a week
  • Weekly visits with a medical doctor
  • Weekly one-on-one therapy sessions

Relapse prevention

We offer ongoing support to help prevent people with established sobriety from relapsing. You’ll join a group of people going through similar experiences to learn recovery skills, talk about your concerns, eat guided meals and other activities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)