Dealing with Eating Disorders
“Be perfect” is the idea we’re shown on social media. Have the perfect job, the best relationships, and the ideal body. These principles of working hard to obtain your desired dream aren’t negative, but they can become harmful when people obsess over them.
An example of this is maintaining a perfect body. Some people work so hard to maintain a perfect body that they develop disordered eating patterns. They eat too much, too little, or they may purge themselves, or engage in a combination of unhealthy behaviors. According to a recent study, “52% of girls and 45% of boys opt for skipping meals.” Skipping meals isn’t unhealthy, but it could become an engrained disordered eating pattern – that could develop into a diagnosable eating disorder if the person starts to have negative thought patterns about food.
If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, you’re not alone, and more importantly, your not weak to seek help. You’re here because you want to know what can be done about your problem. We’re here to help. At On Your Mind Counseling, we’ve diagnosed and helped clients with eating disorder treatments.
What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders can impact all areas of life – including physical and emotional health. These disorders deal with overeating, not eating enough, or purging.
Disordered eating often accompanies anxiety and depression. Food and rituals around eating become a coping mechanism for dealing with life stressors.
You’ve probably heard of some eating disorders before. The most common disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Binge Eating Disorder
Common reasons eating disorders develop are:
- Perfection-seeking attitude
- Low self-esteem & poor body image
- Social anxiety
- Sexual abuse
- And more
Eating disorders are complex. There is still much research to be done on them. While it’s not completely understood, eating disorder treatment is still effective.
How do you know if you need treatment for an eating disorder?
Do you obsess over looking a certain way, so much that you overeat, undereat, or purge? Looking in the mirror can be challenging, so if you’re unsure, try to think if a family or friend has pointed out weight fluctuations.
Emotionally, you may feel depressed, anxious, shameful, fearful, or irritable. Maybe you’ve felt a knot or airy feeling in your stomach when it’s time to eat. Think about your thought patterns. Have you feared gaining weight or obsessing over how your body looks? Physically, has your weight been fluctuating?
These are all signs that you could need eating disorder treatment.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
You’ve often heard this shortened to anorexia. It’s a disorder where the person has abnormally low body weight. The cause is an acute fear of gaining weight, which can also distort the sense of a healthy weight.
The extreme pressure to not gain weight results in symptoms such as:
- Extreme weight loss
- Unusual blood count
- Lack of sleep (insomnia)
- Lacking menstruation
- Eroded enamel on teeth due to purging
- Feeling cold
- Discolored body parts (hands & feet)
The first priority in anorexia recovery would be medical treatment. Doctors should examine the patient to stabilize severe problems and fix malnourishment. Inpatient care is necessary if the person has life-threatening complications or suicidal thoughts.
The next step would be nutritional coaching and therapy. We provide the latter for anorexia nervosa treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
What is Bulimia?
Bulimia is an eating disorder where the person binge eats and follows that with self-induced vomiting (also known as purging) or misusing laxatives to get rid of what was eaten. Binge eating is consuming a large amount of food within a short period of time. It’s usually uncontrolled, and there can be multiple episodes in a day. Both of the disordered eating patterns of binge eating and food purging are often done secretly but look for signs of bulimia health risks.
There is also the non-purging type of bulimia, where the person doesn’t throw up. Instead, they fast, exercise excessively, or skip meals. Other symptoms of bulimia include:
- Exorbitant fasting or exercise
- Binge eating episodes
- Unordinary eating rituals
- Misuse of laxatives
- Absence of menstruation
- Obsessive thought about weight
Bulimia treatment can start in several ways. Eating disorders can result in unstable physical conditions, so if that’s the case, the best place to start would be the hospital or medical care. After that, therapy can help a sufferer identify negative thought patterns associated with food and weight.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is when someone eats a large amount of food uncontrollably. People often overeat on holidays or during celebrations, but binge eating happens regularly, usually daily. It’s typically secretive, and it can happen at night, which is called night binge eating disorder. With large portion sizes as the norm these days in many places across the U.S., you could say this type of disordered eating behavior has become normalized.
People with binge eating disorder make promises never to binge again, but the compulsion to eat overpowers them. Symptoms of binge eating include:
- Consuming large amounts of food regularly
- Uncontrolled eating habits
- Eating until you feel overfilled
- Secretly eating
- Dieting without weight loss
Like other eating disorders, our primary goal with therapy will be to shift the sufferer’s negative thoughts toward food. Binge eating is often a coping tactic to relieve anxiety, depression, or another mental health problem. In other cases, binge eating behavior could be an addiction.
What is the average time to overcome an eating disorder?
Instead of focusing on a time to overcome your disorder, we’d recommend tracking your progress by journaling.
How does therapy for an eating disorder work?
At our office, we treat eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating with CBT and DBT. We’ve worked with plenty of people like you. You’ll find that our staff is passionate and driven to help you get better.
We want to make you better. Meeting you regularly during your recovery will be our pleasure, but ultimately we want to give you tools to free you from your eating disorder. That’s how you’ll walk away from our eating disorder treatment.
- Our counseling and therapy offices are located in Nashville, Tennessee.
- We also provide Telehealth remote therapy sessions for people who live in the states of Tennessee and Nevada.
What Makes Our Therapy Different
We want to make you better. Meeting you weekly will be our pleasure, but ultimately, we want to give you tools to free you from your trauma. It is our goal that you’ll walk away from our trauma and PTSD treatment feeling better than you did before.
It’s time for a change.
If you're interested in becoming a new client or if you have questions, please complete the form, call or email us. We look forward to hearing from you.
*Also offering Telehealth services to clients in Nevada and Tennessee.