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Opium Addiction and Malnutrition

Opium Addiction and MalnutritionEven with the best dieting practices, people struggling with an opium addiction face the harmful physical effects of substance abuse. Since an opium addiction often overshadows the importance of good eating, most opium addicts also suffer from malnutrition. The lifestyle and psychological consequences of opium use may also cause or worsen eating disorders.

How Opium Addiction Leads to a Poor Diet

When the chemicals in opium take effect, the human body experiences euphoria at first, but quickly requires more opium to reproduce the same action. Building up a tolerance to opium is easily done and will prompt the user to take more opium each time. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, opium addicts will consistently use greater opium dosages. Eventually, obtaining and using this drug is the top priority in an addict’s life. The desire for an opium high means more to an addict than healthy eating. A person’s nutrition, along with their personal hygiene, work, school, and family responsibilities, will be neglected when using opium. Financial trouble is common among opium addicts and can also influence a person’s diet. Money spent purchasing opium may have been spent on healthy foods.

How Opium Use Contributes to Eating Disorders

Malnutrition may occur simply from a poor diet or a more serious issue, such as an eating disorder. Preexisting or recently developed problems with body image may drive an opium addict towards an eating disorder. An already slackened care for nutrition makes eating disorders in opium addicts easy to develop.

Every addiction creates an unstable psychological state. An addict is prone to extreme mood swings and personality changes just as a person with an eating disorder feels the highs and lows of guilt from overeating and satisfaction from purging. The two disorders are surprisingly similar making a person with one condition susceptible to the other. Both addiction and eating disorders are very psychological. After treating the physical consequences, a person with both an addiction and an eating disorder should be treated for both conditions simultaneously. Treating co-occurring disorders as a Dual Diagnosis will prevent each condition from perpetuating the other and causing relapse.

Types of Eating Disorders

The four most common eating disorders occur in conjunction with opium addiction as well as alone or with other substance abuse disorders.

  • Anorexia nervosa (AN)
  • Bulimia nervosa (BN)
  • Binge eating disorder (BED)
  • Compulsive overeating (COE)

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