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 The Link Between Eating Disorders, Mental Health, and Biomarkers

Kirsten Hunneyball, host of the podcast Curious About Recovery – Diving Into Eating Disorders, has created a forum to better understand various perspectives, remove stigma, hear inspiring testimonies, and simply get curious about all things eating disorder related. Dr. Higgins joined her in a recent episode, Could Genetic Testing Save You Years of Trial and Error in Mental Health Treatment, to discuss the role of biomarkers in mental health and eating disorders.

According to a study published by the NIH in 2008, “Because eating disorders are often difficult to treat and the individuals who have them often exhibit significant comorbidities, the long-term success rate (3-5 years or more)-defined as recovery and abstinence from the disorder behaviors-is in the 40% to 50% range, at best.”

So, what makes eating disorders so complicated?

Not only is eating necessary for survival, it is also very much a social & cultural experience. And because eating disorders meet the biological and clinical criteria for addiction, Wired For Addiction® recognizes that eating disorders are often a means of self-medicating a diagnosed/undiagnosed mental health condition or trauma. Unlike drugs, alcohol, or other illicit behaviors, eating is not something an individual can simply abstain from; therefore, comprehensive treatment is paramount for recovery and survival.

Eating disorders, just as other process addictions and substance use disorders, start as a way to manage an unwanted emotion, thought, or impulse. Over time, that means of self-medicating goes on to create its own unmanageable co-occurring problem. Simply put, it works until it doesn’t work.

By identifying, isolating, and measuring specific biomarkers that require support, Wired For Addiction® addresses the underlying physiology driving the need to self-medicate through disordered eating. Not only does this improve rates of recovery, but it also reduces that shame & stigma associated with the disease and decreases the likelihood of swapping an eating disorder with another addiction such as alcoholism, gambling, sex, or drug addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction or mental health condition, there is no shame in admitting that help is required. Just as any other disease, eating disorder recovery starts with objective testing to inform treatment. No matter which pathway to recovery you choose, Wired For Addiction® can provide remote testing & biochemical pathway support to treat the biological piece of the biopsychosocial disease of addiction.

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