Gender Aspects in the Comorbidity of Eating Disorders and Alcohol Use Disorders

  • Tahany M. Gadalla


Both eating disorders and alcohol use disorders are prevalent in men and women. Empirical research provides evidence of high comorbidity between alcohol use and disordered eating patterns, especially binge eating and bulimic behavior, in both men and women. Such evidence was found in treatment-seeking samples, student samples, and community samples. However, the nature of this relationship is still unclear. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the mediating mechanisms between the two psychopathologies. First, dietary restraint may result in intake disinhibition leading both to eating and drinking binges. In a similar vein, alcohol drinking restraint, motivated by the need to avoid high caloric intake, may also result in drinking binges. Second, the addictive personality hypothesis, which is based on the belief that certain individuals are predisposed to become addicted to one or more substances. Third, negative feelings and emotional instability have also been offered as explanations of the relationship between eating and substance use disorders, including alcohol. A familial relationship has been suggested as a contributor to the observed high co-occurrence rates of eating disorders and alcohol use disorders. Finally, vulnerability to adolescent stressors has also been used to explain the observed high co-occurrence of eating disorders and alcohol use disorders. Recommendations for future research as well as application to other areas of health are discussed.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Alcohol Dependence Binge Eating Body Dissatisfaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work/University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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