How Does Eating Affect Drug Use

Binge-Eating-can-lead-to-drug-useBinge eating is a problem in the United States. Not only because obesity is a growing problem (even among teens) but because research indicates that it can lead to drug use.

What is binge eating?

“Binge eating was defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in the same time span under similar circumstances and feeling a lack of control over eating during that time (source).”

The Study of Eating & Drug Use

From 1996 to 2005, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital looked at nearly 17,000 boys and girls between ages 9 to 15. Every 12 to 24 months the researchers sent out questionnaires, asking if the kids were binge eating. The researchers found that during the study, 41% of the respondents started using marijuana and 32% of them started using illicit drugs. The kids who overate were 2.7 times more likely to try marijuana and the kids binge eating were 1.9 times more likely to try drugs (source).

Research also showed that binge eating impacted girls more than boys. The researchers went on to say that they weren’t sure why overeating was connected to drug use.

Be we think it makes sense…

Ever heard of comfort food? We gravitate toward our favorite snacks when we’re in a bad place which can lead to binge eating… and eventual drug use. If your teen is struggling with overeating or binge eating, try some of these suggestions from Casa Palmera, a treatment center:

  • Tell someone you’re struggling with overeating.
  • Make time to exercise.
  • Share your concerns with others that can help.
  • Determine the triggers of your disorder.
  • Read books designed to help you get over your problem.

Getting Help for Teen Drug Use

If your teen is struggling with binge eating, have your guard up and watch for signs of drug use. While no parent wants to think about their teen using illegal drugs, research shows it could be a potential struggle for some. If you need to determine if your teen is using drugs, call us for a drug test. Any of our three Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City locations can quickly and easily perform a drug test for you.

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