An eating disorder is a mental condition in which a person forms a destructive, unhealthy relationship with the way they eat. These can begin small and seem inconsequential at first; if left untreated, however, they can blossom into dangerous, even life-threatening issues. If you think you’re struggling with an eating disorder, it is of utmost importance that you reach out for professional help.
Anorexia is when a person is so concerned with losing or keeping off weight that they go to extreme measures, such as drastically limiting their food intake, engaging in intense overexercise, or taking weight-reducing medicines or supplements, in order to prevent weight gain.
Bulimia refers to when a person regularly binges on large quantities of food, often in secret, and then “purges” or “counters” the overeating using unhealthy methods. These can include self-induced vomiting, taking laxatives or other weight loss medicines, and extreme dieting, fasting, or exercise.
Binge-eating, or bingeing, is the most common eating disorder in the United States. This condition involves regular overindulgence in food, even to the point of discomfort or distress, marked by feeling a lack of control over your eating habits. This leads to shame, guilt, or other strong negative emotions. This condition differs from bulimia in that someone struggling with binge-eating does not go on to counter or “fix” the damage of overeating in the way that someone with bulimia would. If you engage in behaviors like this once a week or more, you may have a problem with binge-eating.
The symptoms of an eating disorder can be difficult to spot, as many people who struggle with them do so in intense privacy. Because exercise, fasting, and dieting are normal and healthy to a certain extent, it can be easy for a person to hide an eating disorder under the pretense of simply being overly concerned with their physical shape. Possible signs that you or a loved one are dealing with an eating disorder may include:
While eating disorders can become severe and life-threatening, they are also treatable. If you suspect that you or someone you love have an eating disorder, it’s of utmost importance to seek professional help. These conditions are firmly rooted in the subconscious mind and can be extremely difficult to address on your own. Our current medical understanding of how eating disorders work has allowed modern practice to develop effective forms of treatment for all kinds of eating disorders, allowing you and your loved ones to return in health and happiness to the life you want to live.
Eating disorders are rooted in deeply-held self-perception issues and can be connected to numerous emotional traumas or stressors. The most effective treatments address a patient with an eating disorder on a number of levels, from the psychological to the social. One of the most prevalent tools is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which works to help a person identify their thoughts and emotions as they occur from a less subjective vantage point. Doing this allows you to recognize destructive or triggering moments and navigate through them according to the values you wish to uphold. CBT can help you develop more positive outlets for your negative tendencies and regain control over your relationship with food.
Another important component of treating an eating disorder is to address your emotionally intense interpersonal relationships. If your family, friends, or romantic partner are affecting your mental health, they may be a factor in your unhealthy behavior. We offer family-based therapy to get to the root of what is often a complex interpersonal issue so that we can rebuild family dynamics in a more productive way.
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