Eating Disorders

Eating disorders share many of the same characteristics as other addictions.  As such once recognised they can be treated.  Eating disorders are characterized by an unhealthy attitude towards food.  They frequently coexist with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.The most common eating disorders are:

Anorexia Nervosa:

Deliberate weight loss is the main symptom of this condition. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa try to keep their weight as low as possible by an insufficient intake of food and excessive exercising.  Over time Anorexia can cause serious long term health problems.  An individual with Anorexia Nervosa has a distorted body image and may continue to lose weight even when below a healthy weight. The weight loss might then become severe or life threatening and if not treated may be fatal.

Bulimia Nervosa:

This involves cycles of bingeing (overeating) and purging (ridding the body of the excess food, usually by vomiting or taking laxatives). The binging and purging cycle can occur several times a week to multiple times a day. Bulimic behavior is done secretly because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame.   The binging and purging cycle can cause serious long term health problems for the individual, including but not limited to acid reflux, gastrointestinal problems and loss of teeth.

Compulsive Eating:

Compulsive eaters have a preoccupation with food, feel compelled to over eat and often loose control over the amount that they eat.  Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise, as such binge eaters are often overweight or obese. This may in turn feed into existing feelings of self-loathing which leads an individual to compulsively over eat, thus perpetuating the cycle.   An individual who compulsively over eats is risking long term damage to their health and is at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Some signs that you may have an eating disorder:

Do you binge and purge?

Do family members of friends have concerns about your weight or your relationship with food?

Do you feel shame or guilt after eating?

Do you often feel “out of control” around food?

Do you feel shame and guilt around eating and your weight?

Do you isolate yourself or not attend social events because of how you feel about your weight?

Do you lie to others about the amount that you eat?

This is by no means a definitive list, but if you identify yourself as having one or more of these symptoms please do contact me and we can discuss ways in which to help you with your eating disorder. 

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