Link between binge eating, other addictive behavior

Though not every addict experiences the same lack of control for every addictive substance or behavior, an addict is an addict.

This is borne out by the phenomenon of switching addictions, whose classic example is, for me, old AA meetings: They were chokingly thick with cigarette smoke and had officers assigned to ensure the meetings would be adequately supplied with coffee (with or without sugar and cream) and donuts.

And, surely you know someone who, say, quit smoking and gained 40 pounds.

Not at all surprisingly, a study I saw this week shows that teens who binge eat are more likely to use marijuana and other drugs. The research, performed by Kendrin Sonnefille of Children's Hospital Boston and colleagues, specified that the correlation is with binge eating, not overweight, though of course, those conditions often overlap.

From the story at

The authors noted that because binge eating was "uniquely predictive of some adverse outcomes" and that binge eating is "amenable to intervention, clinicians should be encouraged to screen adolescents for binge eating" and school- and community-based interventions should be established to help prevent binge eating onset.”


I should add that I was a textbook example of this. I drank in high school, though not to wretched excess, I wouldn't say. I was puritanically opposed to drugs until the latter part of my freshman year, and then I smoked marijuana every day that I possessed it for the next 17 years, and didn't stop until I went to food rehab. I have also used cocaine, crack cocaine, speed, downs, opium, acid, and probably one or two I'm forgetting. (I did, after all, do all those drugs.) I even sold drugs during college, to finance my use. I also smoked cigarettes for many years beginning in high school.

I have no doubt that I'm as susceptible to breaking out in any number of new or renewed ways, so I drink no more than thimblesful and no more than a handful of times a year. I gave up all drugs many years ago, and have no desire to return. And I keep strong boundaries on my eating. All of this isn't prissy or angelic; to me, it's hard necessity, and I'm grateful to know it.

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