Alcohol and Drug Abuse in relation to ED & SH. Mental Heath Videos with Kati Morton | Kati Morton

By Brian Lemay 62 comments

Hey everyone, this week’s video topic is something that makes us uncomfortable! We don’t like to talk about it. Ugh! Alcohol and drug abuse. What do we do? Stay tuned So like I said, this week’s video topic is something that many of you have actually reached out to me and wanted to know more and I thought to myself “we should probably just do a video” cause I’m sure that if so many of you have reached out, then there are hundreds that are suffering on their own, and are worried to say anything. And that is alcohol and drug abuse and how it really relates to our eating disorders and our self harm. So, just for the sake of this video, I am going to lump alcohol and drugs together as one and the reason for that is, that these things, alcohol and drugs, are just another unhealthy coping skill and I don’t really want to differentiate them because it just gets too crazy. I was reading the DSM about it the other day and was ‘argh, there is too much information, I can’t put it all in a video’ So, putting it together. So the main difference when we are talking about drug and alcohol abuse is abuse vs dependence Now if you think about the words ‘abuse’ and ‘dependence’, ‘abuse’ isn’t as bad as ‘dependence’ it is just a lower level of a struggle with it, I guess. They describe alcohol abuse as someone who uses too much it and it affects their life, right? So, they have a problem. Dependence is when you have to keep increasing the amount. So, I used to have two cocktails and feel tipsy and now I have four cocktails and am kinda tipsy but six is really where I need…it just keeps increasing over time. It is the same with drugs. Well, I took, I dunno, I’m not very knowledgable about drugs myself. I don’t know what you’d say…a hit? 2 hits? pill? 2 pill? You have to keep increasing, right? I’m not very hip with the lingo, sorry guys But, you have to keep increasing it to get the same effect And so, Shaun is laughing at me. But I’m not very cool. Or I’m extra cool, right? Dare to say no to drugs! Hah! But anyway, so know he just completely lost it So, when we are talking about abuse and dependence, someone with abuse that may use it recreationally and it affects their life but it isn’t completely invading it to the point that they can’t function at a higher level. Like they can’t come to class, therefore they fail their classes therefore they have to drop out and things start compiling. That would be more dependence. And they have to keep using more and using everyday. So, I know this is kind of confusing But can you see the differences? So abuse is like a route to dependence if we keep abusing it. And the way that this really relates to our eating disorder and self harm is that we may not be self harming anymore or may not be restricting or purging or binging anymore But, we are drinking everyday. And you can see why that is not really helpful in the long run, right? Because we can’t be drunk all day, everyday, because our body can’t handle that And, if we aren’t using our eating disorder or self harm, if I was your therapist I would say “Well that’s interesting, because it sounds like you are still self harming or you are still doing destructive behaviours” because that is really what it is, we are trading one for the other. Many of you who suffer with eating disorders and self harm will sometimes tell me “well, I’m not self-harming anymore, but I found my eating disorder getting louder, and so I’ve been using that more” It is almost like a trade-off, right? So if we have given up our eating disorder and self harm, we may find ourselves using drugs more or drinking more and that’s really another way to cope. And so what I would encourage you all to do and this is something that we can all do in general, but specifically for our eating disorder and self harm people who also struggle with alcohol and drugs is to think about what purpose it serves. I know I talk about this a lot, but in my workbook I even try to bring that about because we need to figure out what purpose it is serving us. Our eating disorder, our self harm, our alcohol, our drug abuse, they don’t just come up for no reason. Right? We have emotional stuff going on. We have something that has happened. We have responses to those experiences that we just do not want to deal with. ‘Argh, it’s so hard!’. So, we’ll turn to something else as another outlet There I go with the air quotes again But as another outlet, for those emotions, those feelings that we have and we don’t really have any other way to let them out So, we’ll harm ourselves, we’ll use our eating disorder or we might do drugs or drink. Do you see what I mean how the connection is? And so, because we are just swapping one unhealthy behaviour for another, we have to figure out what purpose it is serving for us. What is the emotion? What is the experience? So that we can utlitise healthy coping skills to help us process through those emotions and that experience And that is why I’m always saying journal, reach out to friends, find a therapist, join a group therapy sessions, cause they do like ten group therapy sessions at a time. But, we have to find an outlet for it. It is okay to reach out for help. I know that it’s scary and everyone gets nervous and are like “Kati, what is it going to be like?” But I promise you, people who are in the mental health field we’re to help. We are there to seek to understand. We may not be taking new clients right now, but we can give you people who could take you We may not specialise in that, but I can give you referrals of people who do. We will make it happen, right? We are there to help and we are there to listen and I promise it is not as scary as it is made out to be And for people who suffer with the alcohol and drug abuse portion, there is AA and NA and I believe that’s worldwide. And AA, for those who don’t know ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and NA is ‘Narcotics Anonymous’ So whether it’s drugs or alcohol or both, there are meetings all across the world All different days and times, to try and fit with your schedule. So I would encourage you, you can go to what they call an ‘open meeting’. Cause I used to take girls from the eating disorder clinic to some open AA and NA meetings and that is when someone can go who may not be a regular member or may not actually struggle themselves and you can see what it’s like. So nobody would know if you actually struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, you can go and feel it out See what you think, okay? So I would encourage you: find someone to talk to, whether it is a therapist, a group, you join AA, join NA, because we really have to figure out what it is that we are trying to cope with, using that, instead of our self harm or eating disorders. Why are we switching to another unhealthy behaviour? We need a healthy outlet, which can be my website. Hey, you can get on my website and write a blog. And I’m opening up forums soon, so you can talk there But that’s another outlet. We can give each other help, and support and love and all that good stuff because we all deserve to recover, we all deserve to have healthy outlets Live a life of moderation. Not feeling like we have to trade one for another and it is possible. And I promise we will get there and you are not alone. And please leave your comments. What’d I’d really like in the comments section of this video is your experience with AA, NA, group therapy, things like that. Things that you have reached out for help with your struggles if you struggle with this and what it was like. I think that is something that could really help a lot of people. And I know everytime you leave those comments I’m like ‘thank you so much for sharing your experience, you have no idea how many people this will help’. Because really, we don’t know. If someone flutters onto my channel and checks out this video for just a split second they might get that and you could’ve saved a life and that can feel really good, right? So, let’s keep sharing and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel because I put out a lot of videos And if you like this topic and you want more information, like I said, there was so much information in the DSM that I was like ‘I can’t put it all in a video. I have to squish it, compact, right?’ So, you want to subscribe and then you want to like it to let me know to make more So I hope that’s helpful. I hope that you keep sharing and helping each other as we work towards a Healthy Mind and a Healthy Body You really laughed on that one I don’t know drug topics…pills, hits, I don’t know! I need to watch more of The Wire, also maybe, I don’t know, what are some other good drug shows? ‘What are some good drugs show? That is a great segue. I do like CSI That’s ‘Touched by an Angel’. It just sounds dirty when you say it that way. Stop saying it that way.



Jun 6, 2013, 2:10 am Reply

I went to OA didn't find it helpful I was usually the only recovering anorexic and bulimic. Thought about going to AA but people from OA said no not a good idea they don't like non alcoholic's going because it wasn't open meetings where I lived at the time. A good drug show Intervention they also have ed's on that to. Still looking for support groups 🙁


Jun 6, 2013, 2:15 am Reply

Hey Kati, this is unrelated, but I didn't want to publicly ask on Twitter or Facebook: I don't know if anyone else has a problem with this, but I have this thing where I can't shower without a swimsuit on. It makes me feel so ashamed and embarrassed, but if I see my body then I have to exercise and restrict even more. Do you have any advice? Thanks so much for all that you do <3 xx


Jun 6, 2013, 2:37 am Reply

I have a group therapy story but it wasn't with drugs or alcohol but with s/h. I was so humiliated to tell the group about it. I couldn't even look at anyone when I actually told them that I do it…but after I told them, they all were soo nice & understanding. They told me I didn't have to feel ashamed, it was " just part of the process". They even asked me how I was doing with that the following week. I've learned you can be very honest in group and people understand.

Kathy Hawkins

Jun 6, 2013, 3:14 am Reply

Thanks for the video, Kati! I had a brief struggle with drugs last summer since I stuggle with cross addiction. I wasn't giving into ed or self harm, so I needed something. I'm part of an eating disorder group called Eating Disorders Anonymous. Hope this helps someone 🙂


Jun 6, 2013, 3:29 am Reply

NA saved my life. The most helpful part to me, is having other people that actually understand what it is like "out there." My sponsor is my best friend in the world and I can tell her anything. I do not at all think that NA or AA replace therapy, though. That is a mistake a lot of members make. The secret to success in a 12-Step program… go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps, be of service. It works if you work it. You're worth it! Oh, and just try it. Find your new way of life. 🙂


Jun 6, 2013, 3:55 am Reply

Also, Google Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous to find meetings. I can't put their websites in this damn thing but the first link for both searches should be the World Services websites for the fellowships. They are worldwide. Both programs also have phone line meetings if you are in an area without meetings. Visit their websites to find meetings in your area or to get their history. Pick a program and educate yourself. I hope this can help someone. You never have to use again! <3


Jun 6, 2013, 4:58 am Reply

I dont actually feel like watching this cause it has nothing to do with me or anyone i know. But i will still like it since i know it probably a good video. You look pretty by the way

Mollie Allen

Jun 6, 2013, 8:29 am Reply

Great video, I didn't realise they could both be linked to some what of a self harming method…. It would be great if you could do a video on the topic of voices and hallucination 🙂 xoxo


Jun 6, 2013, 12:32 pm Reply

you remind me of the actress greta gerwig


Jun 6, 2013, 2:40 pm Reply

I drank once i don't know why..But i got really bad i passed out and i was being sick when my mom came in and saw me. Now she thinks i'm an alcoholic.. But to be honest when i see or even smell alcohol i feel sick I don't get how i can make her understand that i am not an alcoholic.


Jun 6, 2013, 7:17 pm Reply

There are tons of people in other 12-Step meetings that don't necessarily have that affliction. Trying AA can't hurt. Whenever they say alcohol replace it in your head with whatever word you need food, restricting, etc. Just make sure that if you want to share in the meeting that you identify as an alcoholic (otherwise, they wont take too kindly to it). Otherwise, you can just hit open meetings, and not share and identify yourself as there for support. Good luck on whatever you decide!

Lindsay DeMara

Jun 6, 2013, 7:43 pm Reply

To be honest, sometimes when i do drink it is to block everything out. I do use alcohol at times as a coping mechanism but not that often.

Lindsay DeMara

Jun 6, 2013, 7:51 pm Reply

I also went to one AA meeting when I was in the hospital for cutting and stuff. They said maybe I would find it helpful because ed and cutting are addictions. I didn't like it at all.


Jun 6, 2013, 9:03 pm Reply

Hi! I had the same experience attending OA. I was always the only one suffering from purging anorexia. Do you have ANAD in your area? That's where I found the most support and felt like finally a group with "my" issues! : )

Amy Lou

Jun 6, 2013, 9:30 pm Reply

i think sean and i both snorted at the same time 🙂


Jun 6, 2013, 2:02 am Reply

I would group the two anyway since alcohol is a drug… or am I wrong?


Jun 6, 2013, 2:10 am Reply

After being in hospital the first time I started going to NA meetings. I wasn't really ready to do anything with my addictions and other coping mechanisms. It wasn't until after the second time in hospital that I really focused on living the basics of the NA program. I got a sponsor who works the program very well and I go to meetings and work on step work. I have had great experiences and even helped start a new meeting. It is worth it. Just for today.


Jun 6, 2013, 1:02 pm Reply

Hi! I have not personally struggled with this. HOWEVER, I created a video response because I have loved ones who struggle/have struggled with this. My video discusses how this affects loved ones & my experience with 12 steps

Morgan M

Jun 6, 2013, 4:14 pm Reply

My doctor recommends I stop Binge drinking due to my epilepsy. My boyfriend also has schizophrenia bipolar and when he drinks he has an episode. I'm trying to conVince him to go to AA so he can get help. I would even be willing to go with him to stop my habits as well. Its scary watching someone have an episode from to much drinking.

Lindsay DeMara

Jun 6, 2013, 4:49 pm Reply

That was back in 05 when I went to the meeting. I don't like group settings in the first place so i think that was a big part of why I didn't like it. I didn't like having to say my name is my issues every time I wanted to speak so I just didn't say anything. But I still have my 24hr coin though haha. Even with my old therapist I didn't like doing group therapy. I just say there & didn't say anything. For me its just simply not helpful.

Annie E

Jun 6, 2013, 3:04 am Reply

I have been a friend of Bill and Bob (founders of AA) for many years. Even if I o to meetings several years apart, it is always like going home. You will be welcomed with open arms. It is like being a part of a great big family. There is always a meeting going somewhere in the world. All you need for attendance is a desire to stop drinking. AA, NA, OA, all work off of the same principals.

TheGStar x

Jun 6, 2013, 5:38 pm Reply

how do you know if you have a eatting disorder? ive been looking through all your videos and looking all the interent and im still un sure.

Michelle Mendenhall

Jul 7, 2013, 6:05 am Reply

sad thing is, i dont really care if i become dependant upon alcohol. it is the only way i know how to cope with everything besides restricting or purging. i dont know what to do anymore.


Jul 7, 2013, 4:43 am Reply

@Jaydensmama I feel the exact same way. I just use drugs instead of drinking.


Jul 7, 2013, 7:45 pm Reply

I also wanted to complain a little bit about how hard I find groups in case anyone else has the same experience- every time I try a group setting I find myself boiling over with unreasonable rage and disgust at any other group members and am not entirely sure why- lots of very judgemental thoughts like "no one cares about your problems, please stop talking" run through my head and I feel panicky even. I *hope* this doesn't happen to anyone else, but just in case- you are not alone!

Keith Hutchins

Aug 8, 2013, 4:53 am Reply

Hello Katie you and your videos are awesome!!!!!! Thank you!!! 🙂

megan gibbs

Aug 8, 2014, 10:01 pm Reply

i struggle with 3 of these and dont think im trying to replace on for another but dont know how to cope with it all. what should i do.

erik lundberg

Aug 8, 2014, 11:11 am Reply

I used to use alcohol to cope with my depression. And when I was drunk I used to self -harm. I never really understood why I self harmed until very recently. Thanks for another great video Kati! 🙂

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Aug 8, 2014, 9:43 pm Reply

I agree that substance abuse and eds and self-harm can all alternate.  In my case, I went between eds and alcohol abuse when I was younger – solvent/aerosol abuse when very young.  Actually, my OCD is just my latest manifestation.  The root problems are deeper, to do with my Borderline traits, depression, PTSD, etc. 

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Aug 8, 2014, 9:50 pm Reply

I did go to AA but was still drinking at the time.  They believe in being teetotal, not 'just cutting down'.  It was awkward.  I actually am teetotal now, btw.  I don't understand about drugs either.  I never did drugs – just as well.  xxx

christian miller

Oct 10, 2014, 4:26 am Reply

What if the drug abuse is of a substance that doesn't cause bodily harm? I realize that's still bad but it's like I'm quitting that substance and I feel so dumb for quitting because it really made me happier and loving to others. And I quit for other reasons than my health. Bodily or mental


Dec 12, 2014, 1:35 am Reply

Hi Kati, My sister and i have divorced parents and my mum has symptoms of an alcoholic, she wont admit that she has a drinking problem, its really hard to get away from it because its just the 3 of us living there at a time, my sister and i have tried every form of communicating and expressing our feelings to mum to let her know we think she has a drinking problem. She never listens to us and refuses to admit she has a problem, is there any way to get her to see she has a drinking problem? her life is going down hill and id really like to know how my sister and i can help. 

Kristen Larson-Samalus

Mar 3, 2015, 1:42 pm Reply

Check out CCAR as well, great community support for people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse

Carly Robertson

May 5, 2015, 6:42 am Reply

I only usually self harm when I drink… Everytime I drink I'm having. Good time for a while but then I get into a bad mood. I always crave alcohol but only like to drink when I'm alone. Should I go to a meeting?

Kernschrott .Production

Aug 8, 2015, 1:53 am Reply

alcohol is a drug.. why would you NOT put them together?

Jill Connolly

Aug 8, 2015, 2:00 am Reply

Hi Kati! There is a neat online meeting forum for AA, NA, SELF HARM etc. It's called

Queen Bombus

Sep 9, 2015, 11:29 pm Reply

I went once to a drug and alcohol program at the VA and I didn't like it. One it's like they forced everyone to tell what they were addicted to and why they got addicted to it. I didn't like sitting around telling other people why I did whatever it was I did, it's none of their business. I didn't like the guy running the group because I didn't feel like he was sincere about what he was doing. We are talking about veterans…..I didn't like the feelings I was picking up from other people in that group. Yes I have psychosis so I was feeling their addictions and the energy that came with it. I also didn't like being the only female in the group…I just didn't like the overall feeling of being in a group it just annoyed the hell out of me. 🙂

John Shultz

Oct 10, 2015, 6:38 pm Reply

I was addicted to heroin. I would shoot up all days everyday. I was going through alot of issues mentally. and I never realized because I would do meth and heroin alot. But heroin my main drug of choice. But i tryed kills my myself after my pregnant wife was leaving me. I was 51-50 and in glad I survived because during that 72 hour hold I was diagnosed as bipolar 2 because I always been very depressed but in my early 20s and at 22 my mental health got worse. my mother is phcitsofrentic (I can't spell) and was instatutioned when I was 11 and I was taken away. But i been dealing with my illness for two years almost but mostly coped with drugs. I been clean 10 months and have done n.a. and not a fan. I been to meetings and worked the steps. But i prefer to kerp busy and replace heroin with good healthy habits but theripy one on one is what I prefer


Oct 10, 2015, 3:12 pm Reply

I am wondering if you have a video specifically about sexual abuse and drug addiction? I was raped when I was a 6 year old boy and then sexually molested by a much older girl/woman when i was 9 (kissing etc). By this point I just trade addictions all of the time to cope; codeine, alcohol, cigarettes, food and on and on and avoid humans. You touch upon it in this and you have some very useful videos about sexual abuse but i am wondering if you have a video specifically on sexual abuse and drug addiction. PS: thanks for the phrase avoidant personality disorder, that really rings a lot of bells.

Jonnie Mae Middletonlotte

Dec 12, 2015, 6:21 pm Reply

I appreciate you videos. Thank you.

Hell Mary

Jan 1, 2016, 5:15 pm Reply

Breaking Bad is a good drug show

Royalgenius 11

Mar 3, 2016, 4:32 am Reply

Great Video!


Apr 4, 2016, 12:03 am Reply

alcohol is a drug. Any mood altering substance is a drug.

Dan Miller

Apr 4, 2016, 8:53 pm Reply

I would recommend reading the young adult thriller Snowballs and Sinners. The novel is based on actual events related to drug abuse in school and a school-based drug abuse awareness program.

Jean-Luc La Rue

Jun 6, 2016, 8:04 am Reply

"This topic makes us uncomfortable." That's pretty much every video on your channel.

Natasha Patel

Aug 8, 2016, 9:12 am Reply

There is OA too or FA to deal with body image and food issues.
AA is great, support-wise, but OA is more specifically helpful for the complex food concerns.
Thanks for all you do. <3


Dec 12, 2016, 9:29 am Reply

drinking is also self harm. the psycho babble about the difference between abuse and dependence isn't really that important. alcoholism/addiction needs no real explanation/understanding of why… the bottom line.. its an unhealthy way to deal with problems… on top of it.. addiction mimmicks mental illness… i was diagnosed for years and have been inpatient like thirty times… dead serious. i was chronically non-compliant with medications… its a very long story but the bottom line… when i finally decided to get sober for real… and stay off meds as well… it took a bit of finesse to navigate but I finally got the substance counselors and mental health counselors on the same page and simplified my deal. after a year of sobriety my treatment team agreed i was far healthier than they had ever seen me in the previous 15 years(they dealt with me for the entirety of my ridiculous experience in the mental health world). That being said… I never would have gotten well if I had not been so dead set on living my life off of medications… on top of that though… became COMMITTING to the AA/NA way of life.

not just going to meetings. 12 Steps. Sponsorship. Accepting responsibility for my disease.

Most think AA is a religion… or a support group… its neither… it can be like a support group but it really basically boils down to reading the big book of alcoholics of anonymous. the first 165 pages are regarded as "the instructions". It literally breaks down the exact steps to getting sober… not just quitting drinking…. losing your 'alcoholic mind'. By the way its pretty much the same for drugs… i am an addict, i am involved in NA and AA.

It has been said that the 12 steps are one of the BEST MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS going… and it was rarely mentioned during my inpatient experiences. I was often medicated despite the fact that I was quite certain my real problem was drug addiction. It is a very involved deal. And I'm really just thankful I never have to deal with any of that horrible experience again… I never have to… doesn't mean I'm cured.

I have a daily reprieve contingent on maintaining spiritual fitness.


Mar 3, 2017, 2:51 pm Reply

I have struggled with alcohol dependence for a few years now. In my experience I am always moving from ED, SH, and alcohol dependency. Or all at the same time. AA was helpful for me. I would recommend it if you are seeking out help. Along with that, therapy helped me tremendously. Therapy was especially helpful for me, being one who does not take well to sharing in a group setting. That's my experience. Hopefully that could be of some help to someone.

Abby Mihelic

Mar 3, 2017, 12:41 am Reply

a quite accurate drug show is Nurse Jackie. you see someone develop an addiction, and how it affects them. it is quite accurate representation of drug addiction.

Jacqueline Woo

May 5, 2017, 4:00 am Reply

bipolar bpd anxiety depression PTSD etc blah people define themselves like this.i don't but they have ruled my life.. what do you do when all the cards are stacked against you?

Jacqueline Woo

May 5, 2017, 4:00 am Reply

heh. did i mention addiction? sigh.

jason speratos

May 5, 2017, 4:40 pm Reply

I am honest and told my therapist that I have been coming to DBT group high.

Danielle Hawbyy

Jul 7, 2017, 4:21 pm Reply

alcohol is a drug lol

Rob H

Sep 9, 2017, 12:09 am Reply

I really relate to this video I've struggled with self harm since being a toddler & had an eating disorder & drug addiction for 20 years. I'm finally going to my first NA meeting tomorrow & start a day programme on addiction I'm hoping the skills learnt there will be transferable to all aspects of recovery. Thankyou for covering this topic

Anna Pomelo

Mar 3, 2018, 4:00 pm Reply

Varrious YouTubers I can call my therypists by heart 🙂

Charlotte Case

Aug 8, 2018, 12:07 am Reply

ive been to na aa oa ea coda all thes a's!!! i found mostly everyone extremely welcoming and all they want to do is help you get well. theres a brother/sisterhood kind of feel in the rooms. i found EA – emotions anon , the most helpful because it encompasses all of the emotions we all experience so is not exclusive to the way we deal with the ie drugs food etc. alot of people who go there are suffering from same or similar things and i always felt at home coming back to an na meeting .

Ashley Bishop

Oct 10, 2018, 1:32 am Reply

Tolerance is when you have to increase your intake for the same effect. Dependence is when your body has to have it in order to function and you'll have severe withdrawal without it.

Manuel Garcia

Dec 12, 2018, 2:54 pm Reply

Ive been snorting cola since when i broke up with my ex in march, and ive kept a mostly steady routine of using once every 2-3 weeks, not sure if im abusing or treating it basically like videogames, i can leave it but i prefer not to, not sure though

hey no

Dec 12, 2018, 4:41 am Reply

when she said 2 hits i lmao


Apr 4, 2019, 11:00 pm Reply

pills dont work so we turn to weed and drinking

Paesito Paez

Apr 4, 2019, 1:14 am Reply

Damn this hit soooo close to home. This was a wake up call for me man. I've stopped self harming and purging but I've fallen back to drinking and smoking

Isaac Morgan

Nov 11, 2019, 6:18 am Reply

Alcohol is a drug! It just is, it's a psychoactive drug

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