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EATING DISORDERS

“If we are ready to tear down the walls that confine us … we will discover what our wings are for.”

Michael Meegan

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders include a variety of psychological conditions which cause unhealthy eating habits.  Development of eating disorders may start with obsession with food, body weight and distorted body image.  People with eating disorders typically suffer from serious health conditions, and if left untreated, it could result in death.

What are symptoms of eating disorders?

There are various symptoms for eating disorders which could be caused or triggered by genetics, certain personality traits such as perfectionism, cultural pressure to be thin or a need to control life.  The most common symptoms may include: severe food restriction, binging, purging behaviors such as vomiting, excessive exercise or use of laxatives

What are the types of eating disorders?

There are several types of eating disorders and the most common types include:

  1. Anorexia Nervosa - If you struggle with such a condition, you may obsessively restrict food or binge, maintain significantly lower body weight for age and height, possibly engage in purging behaviors, have a distorted body image, experience an intense fear of gaining weight, and sometimes display obsessive compulsive symptoms.  

  2. Bulimia Nervosa – People with bulimia tend to have episodic binging during which they cannot control how much they eat.  After their binge, they will attempt to purge to get rid of the calories consumed and relieve stomach fullness.  They typically maintain a normal body weight, unlike those with anorexia.  

  3. Binge Eating Disorder – is believed to be the most common eating disorder in the U.S.  Typically, binge eating is used, like that in bulimia or anorexia, binging type.  Also, feelings of shame, guilt and disgust can be experienced.  However, individuals with binge eating disorders do not display purging behaviors and are typically overweight or obese.

What are best therapies for eating disorders?

Eating disorders are mental health conditions that may cause serious health issues.  Typically, a person with an eating disorder may struggle with depression, anxiety, panic disorder and/or OCD.  If your life is negatively impacted by an eating disorder, it is recommended you seek a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, consult with a nutritionist, and receive therapy with a psychologist specializing in eating disorders.  
Evidence-based treatments for eating disorders – There is no one specific therapy that is best for all eating disorders, but a select combination of the following treatment may be best.  Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal Therapy (IPT), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are found to be most successful in treatment of eating disorders.