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Quit Drugs But Can’t Stop Eating: Eating Disorder?

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I quit doing drugs and all I do is eat. Do I have an eating disorder? About three months ago I quit doing illegal drugs and smoking. I have been doing illegal drugs since I was 14. I’ve been smoking since I was 12. I quit “cold turkey” and have been doing very well with the help of my boyfriend. I have not relapsed, nor do I have the urge to. The problem I face now is what I do with the time I used to spend smoking and doing drugs. I find that I have been eating, a lot. I don’t know why I just get up and eat a whole bag of chips or I find that I’ve drank 4 sodas in a hour. I never ate like this before. Now I’ve gained 10 pounds in three months. I’m worried that this is becoming an eating disorder. I’m not sure what to do or how to stop it.

Quit Drugs But Can’t Stop Eating: Eating Disorder?

Answered by on -

A.

The phenomenon you have described is a common one especially among individuals with “addictive” personalities. You gave up one addiction and replaced it immediately with another. Please keep in mind that I’m not saying you are an addict; it is not possible for me to know that but you may have some of the qualities of a person with an addictive personality.

It is difficult to know if you have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are generally associated with individuals who have stopped eating or who regurgitate food, and so forth. It’s possible that you have a binge eating disorder but I do not have enough information to say with certainty whether you have an eating disorder or not.

It is very encouraging that you were able to stop using drugs. That is a difficult thing to do and it can greatly improve your life. Your concern, however, is that you’ve given up the drugs and have developed another serious problem. Something was driving you to use drugs and something is driving you to compulsively eat. The key to stopping the problematic behavior is uncovering the driving force that is leading you to engage in problematic behavior.

My suggestion is that you see a therapist. In my opinion, you are an excellent candidate for therapy because of your success in stopping your drug use. It shows that you have the desire to change and that you are serious about wanting to improve your life. A therapist can help you uncover what is driving you to engage in unhealthy behavior. Something is at the root of the problem but at this point we do not know what it is. If you’d like to find a therapist in your community please search this directory. Thank you for your question.

Quit Drugs But Can’t Stop Eating: Eating Disorder?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Quit Drugs But Can’t Stop Eating: Eating Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/07/quit-drugs-but-cant-stop-eating-eating-disorder/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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