Eating Disorders and Drug Use in Adolescents

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The aim of the study was to show whether there was a connection
between drug use and eating disorders, as well as to identify the type
of drugs most widely used and to ascertain whether they are used to
suppress appetite. An “ad hoc” scale was developed using the items of the Eating Disorder
Diagnostic Scale, whose aim is to detect cases at risk of certain types of
eating disorder, and items for assessing drug use. This scale was applied
to samples of teenagers (n=446) aged 13-18 from various secondary
schools in the Valencia Region (Comunidad Valenciana) in Spain.

An association was found between teenagers that use drugs, and
particularly between the variable “use of some kind of drug as an appetite
suppressant,” and being at risk of having an eating disorder. Tobacco was
the drug most commonly used (accounting for 66% of those within the
risk threshold of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale).

We conclude that those teenagers from the sample who fall within
any of the risk thresholds consume more drugs than those who do not
fall within the risk threshold of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale.
Stimulant-type drugs are those most widely used by these teenagers with
the aim of suppressing appetite.