Overcoming An Eating Disorder

12/06/18: Addiction Recovery
Disorders are no joke and they aren’t an easy mountain to get over. Recovering from a disorder can be physically and mentally taxing. One type of disorder that has become extremely prevalent in the last couple decades is eating disorders. On the surface, it may sound like an easy thing to overcome, but it can be just as difficult as overcoming addiction. Beating an eating disorder can take just as much time for recovery as addiction recovery can. These disorders can even be fatal at times, especially in severe cases. Depriving your body of the necessary nutrients it needs is dangerous. Typically you’ll see younger teens struggling with body image become susceptible to eating disorders, but eating disorders have no bias, it is not restricted to one age group. Statistics say that 1 in 20 young women in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder of some kind; there are multiple kinds. Some common eating disorders people tend to struggle with are anorexia, bulimia, and even binge-eating; an eating disorder doesn’t always mean someone doesn’t eat. Eating disorders have become more and more present in our society, especially for young women. Dieting, purging, and binge-eating have become serious, even fatal, issues for people. Thankfully, these disorders have become diagnosable which means they can be treated. In this post, we will discuss what eating disorders are, what the recovery process looks like, and how it can be treated.

Defining An Eating Disorder

eating disorder supportThe Academy of Eating Disorders defines Eating disorders as “... serious mental illnesses. They are treatable. They aren’t choices, passing fads or phases, they are severe and can be fatal. Eating disorders occur all over the world, especially in industrialized regions or countries. They can be recognized by a persistent pattern of unhealthy eating or dieting behavior that can cause health problems and/or emotional and social distress.” An eating disorder is a mental health issue in which a person has abnormal eating habits that can be damaging to their physical and mental health. This could mean they eat too much or they don’t eat enough. There are 3 categories for eating disorders, read about them below:
  • Anorexia Nervosa: Not maintaining a healthy body weight for a person’s age/height. Sometimes 85% of the expected weight is common for people suffering from anorexia.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Binge-eating episodes - a sense of no control when consuming massive amounts of food in a small time frame, followed by methods to get rid of the food or weight gain. Significant difference between out-of-control binge eating and regular overeating.
  • EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified): Purging in the absence of binge-eating, meeting some but not all of the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and chewing and spitting out food.
There are many other eating disorders that branch off from these 3 categories, but they all fall under 1 of these 3 categories. It is hard to identify what causes an abnormal eating disorder, but they can occur from environment, biology, psychology, or even culture. Eating disorders are complex and are influenced by many factors. Many people attribute Western Culture to the idea of thinness, theorizing that this causes eating disorders. However, as we previously stated, it is not just culture that causes this, but environment, biology, and psychology. Usually, an eating disorder can be easy to notice, but some people may not realize that they have an eating disorder. Some other symptoms that can let you know if someone has an eating disorder are: obsession with calories, dieting when not necessary, fluctuations in weight, depression, etc. It’s smart to get in touch with a doctor if any of these mentioned symptoms are present with you or someone you know. Recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

Treatment & Recovery From An Eating Disorder

Someone that struggles with an eating disorder struggles physically and mentally from the disorder. Though the physical and mental toll an eating disorder takes on a person can be severe, it can be treated. There are treatment centers filled with professionals who specialize in treating disorders like these. Recovery is possible. The recovery process can be separated into 4 different stages for a person to go through.

Stage #1: Medical Treatment

The first step in recovery is to identify the problem. What disorder does this person have? What are their symptoms? When questions like these are answered, a medical professional can make a proper diagnosis and assist in proper medical attention. A doctor may want to monitor the person being diagnosed in order to truly understand what symptoms they have and what could be causing the possible eating disorder. When these things can be properly addressed, an intervention is possible and treatment can begin.

Stage #2: Nutrition Planning

One of the most essential parts of living a healthy life is having a balanced nutritional diet. That means healthy eating habits as well as healthy eating choices. This can help a person maintain a healthy lifestyle and body weight. An eating disorder often leads to some either being overweight or underweight. A patient in eating disorder recovery must properly plan out their diet to effectively fight against their disorder and promote a positive change in their life.

Stage #3: Therapy

Like any recovery process, therapy has a very powerful effect on the results. Since an eating disorder is also a mental health disorder, it’s best to seek out therapy along with usual treatment. Therapy allows someone to voice their feelings and have someone there to listen to them. It requires psychological-based therapies which can help individuals change their approach towards their eating pattern. Therapy sessions for people recovering from eating disorders are helpful in identifying the underlying causes of the disorders and developing an intervention that is best-suited for the healing process.

Stage #4: Medications

Lastly, prescribed medicines can help the recovery process from this disorder. Eating disorders are compulsive in nature and can be difficult to fight off. Just like in recovery from addiction, the person will be fighting off compulsive needs to either eat or not. Medicines can help in resolving conditions such as anxiety and mood swings which often compel a person to engage in abnormal eating behavior. These 4 stages can help someone overcome their eating disorder. Recovery from a disorder is not easy though. An eating disorder is almost like an addiction; you have a compulsive need to satisfy. Disorders like these are not easy to overcome, but recovery is possible. If you or a loved one struggles with an eating disorder, consider what we talked about in this post and get help. There are treatment centers, professionals, and other people out there who want to help. Content for Arizona Addiction by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media

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