What are eating disorders?
The phrase eating disorder refers to a range of abnormal or disturbed eating habits. There are three main types of eating disorders; Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge eating disorder. Recent statistics suggest that about 8% of the U.S. population suffers from an eating disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an eating disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa is a distortion of the body image that causes one to relentlessly and obsessively strive for thinness. Typically, those suffering from Anorexia Nervosa are very thin and keep weight low by starving themselves or by excessive dieting or compulsive exercise. It is also common to use laxatives, diuretics or induce vomiting to maintain weight. Weight and eating are obsessions for this suffering from this eating disorder.
Bulimia Nervosa sufferers binge eat large amounts of food and then compensate for this by purging the food by vomiting or excessive use of laxatives and diuretics. Fasting and excessive exercise are other methods of weight control. Those suffering from this disorder are usually within a normal weight range and use the purging activities to overcome feelings that they have no control over excessive eating.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by insatiable cravings for food, which cause secret binging and feelings of deep shame. Those who suffer from this disorder usually have poor body image and low self-esteem. They use binging as a way of dealing with stress.
Diagnosing an eating disorder?
While health professionals typically diagnose an eating disorder, there are a number of self-screening tools available that can give you an idea of whether or not you should seek treatment. If you suffer from an eating disorder, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Eating disorders can dramatically impact your health.
Want to try a self-screening tool?
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides a short screening to help you determine of you need to seek professional help.
Mental Health America also has an Eating Disorder Test
Treating eating disorders
Treatment options that work for my clients are:
- Talk therapy
- Psychotherapy with a biopsychosocial approach that considers the biological, psychological, and social factors
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Introduction of coping strategies and self-talk
Depending on the severity of the eating disorder, I may suggest that you meet with your physician, as well. Nutritional management is a critical factor in recovery from serious eating disorders.
I also make recommendations for alternative mindfulness therapies like yoga and meditation.
Schedule a free 10-minute consultation.
I am currently accepting new patients. To schedule a consultation or your first appointment, you can call my office at 504-481-899 or click here to request an appointment online.
In addition, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides a free helpline at 1-800-931-2237 and a free chat feature.