Life in the military can be exceptionally stressful, and it can also be an emotional and mental rollercoaster. With increased cases of eating disorders in the military, it has never been more important to offer female soldiers quality treatment programs that address both substance abuse and eating disorders.
If you find yourself struggling with your weight or engaging in a constant battle against food, then eating disorder treatment may be right for you and can help end the war between you and your body.
Eating Disorders in the Military
Some women enter the military with an existing eating disorder, specifically anorexia or bulimia. There are a number of weight and health restrictions imposed on those who enlist, so compulsive overeating is often less of a concern for those who are on active duty. In some cases, the stress of trying to fit military standards does lead some women to secret binge eating.
Strict military culture can easily give way to anorexia or bulimia. The military demands nothing but the best. While military culture may not be to blame for eating disorders in the military, it certainly isn’t the easiest environment for those who already have an unhealthy relationship with food or an unhealthy body image.
Women in the armed forces are expected to be in peak physical condition, and this is often measured by routine weigh-ins. Women and men alike can be disciplined for a change on the scale, despite the fact that their athletic abilities are unmatched. This pressure to be all you can be can lead to immense pressure to be thin. This can quickly result in calorie restrictions and extreme exercise.
It can also be somewhat of a challenge for those who are on active duty to find wholesome and low-calorie foods, so some may choose to simply eliminate or restrict calories. Binge eating in the form of compulsive overeating can also become a reality when the stress gets to be too much.
Another connection between eating disorders and the military occurs when women leave the armed forces. The life change of leaving the military coupled with difficulties finding a civilian job can lead to compulsive overeating or “stress eating.” Compulsive overeating may also become a form of self-medicating symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD.
There is a strong link between drug addiction and eating disorders, especially for those who have retired from the military. PTSD can follow women home, regardless of where they served their time while on active duty. Compulsive overeating or calorie restriction may be used as a means of self-medicating deeper issues, just as drugs or alcohol can be.
Drug addiction may also become a concern for those looking to drugs to help them lose more weight. Methamphetamines are often used in order to lose weight. Other addictions include laxative addiction, cocaine addiction, alcohol addiction or benzodiazepine addiction. The combination of a drug addiction and an eating disorder can be truly dangerous for women trying to restore a sense of balance to a life already rocked by time spent on active duty.
Without the right type of eating disorder treatment that works to address both the drug addiction and eating disorder, finding that sense of balance can be extremely challenging. A Dual Diagnosis rehab center can help to treat both the eating disorder and the addiction.