Eating disorder treatment is a comprehensive approach to a debilitating, sometimes deadly, disorder.
Eating disorders are characterized by extreme disturbances to a person’s normal diet. Other psychological issues are often present and coexist with an eating disorder, such as depression and/or anxiety. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Females are 10 times more likely than males to be diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia, but this discrepancy is much more narrow in binge-eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme weight loss and the unyielding pursuit of thinness. Anorexia nervosa has the following symptoms:
- Voluntary self-starvation
- Distorted body image
- Extreme fear of gaining weight and refusal to maintain a healthy weight
- In some cases, lack of menstrual periods
As anorexia nervosa progresses, the symptoms become more severe and can cause major health issues.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a frequent cycle of binge-eating followed by purging behaviors such as vomiting, excessive exercise or the use of laxatives or diuretics to compensate for the binge-eating. People with bulimia nervosa typically maintain a normal weight. The binge-purge cycle is often done in secret due to feelings of shame or embarrassment. If the individual is vomiting to get rid of calories, consequences can include persistent sore throat with inflammation, worn tooth enamel from exposure to stomach acid, acid reflux disorder, and other gastrointestinal issues. Individuals with bulimia also may suffer from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge-eating and a loss of control overeating. As in bulimia nervosa, binging occurs but is not followed by compensatory purging. Those with binge-eating disorder are often overweight or obese and often feel guilt and shame for over-eating.
Unsure whether or not you or a family member is experiencing eating disorder symptoms? The following are signs that there might be a problem:
- Spending too much time thinking about food, body image and/or caloric intake
- Trouble eating in front of others
- Feelings & expressions of guilt after eating
- Hoarding food and eating in private
- Expressing distress over body image, often negatively describing weight or body size
- Exercising excessively
- Obsession over weight, frequent weight checks
- Abuse of laxatives, diuretics, and/or diet pills
- Vomiting after consuming food
- Constant calculation of numbers of fat grams, carbohydrates, or calories
- Unusual eating rituals, such as cutting food into small bits before eating, arranging food a particular way on the plate, only eating foods in a particular order, etc.
Eating disorders are often associated with other conditions, such as:
- Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Treatment for eating disorders is based on the specific eating disorder symptoms and individual needs.
The symptoms of eating disorders may be life-threatening, and require professional help to ensure healthy recovery. We recognize that recovering from an eating disorder can be a long and often challenging process. Based on your specific eating disorder symptoms, our network of therapists who specialize in eating disorders provide you with effective professional counseling, equipping you with life skills that will enable your recovery. Treatment often entails the combined efforts of a therapist, nutritionist, and a medical doctor.