Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder
There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Common are Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder. The chance for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected.
Signs & Symptoms of an Eating Disorder
Eating disorder symptoms may include:
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Extreme underweight or overweight
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
- Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
- Depression or lethargic stage
- Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends
- Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
Eating Disorder Treatment
Because of the severity and complexities of these conditions, a comprehensive and professional treatment team specializing in eating disorders is often fundamental in establishing healing and recovery. Treatment plans are utilized in addressing the many concerns a man or woman may be facing in the restoration of their health and well-being and are often tailored to meet individual needs.
Treatment is usually comprised of one or more of the following and addressed with medical doctors, dieticians, and therapists for complete care:
- Medical Care and Monitoring: The highest concern in the treatment of eating disorders is addressing any health issues that are a consequence of eating disordered behaviors.
- Nutrition: This would involve weight restoration or stabilization, guidance for normal eating, and the integration of an individualized meal plan.
- Therapy: Different forms of psychotherapy, such as individual, family, or group, can be helpful in addressing the underlying causes of eating disorders. Therapy is a fundamental piece of treatment because it affords an individual in recovery the opportunity to address and heal from traumatic life events and learn healthier coping skills and methods for expressing emotions, communicating and maintaining healthy relationships.
- Medications: Some may be effective in helping mood or anxiety symptoms that co-occur with the eating disorder. Eating Disorders are complex disorders, influenced by multiple factors. Though the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, it is generally believed that a combination of treatment methodologies and medication is most effective.