Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating behaviors, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways. But, for those living with these disorders, help is not only available but successful in giving these individuals the tools they need in order to live out healthy lifestyles. And, obtain lives of mental and physical wellbeing. Here at Yellowbrick, we provide outpatient eating disorder treatment that provides people living with these issues the support, education, therapy, and treatment techniques required to overcome the symptoms of eating disorders.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are many types of eating disorders, but they all stem from the same issues; genetic history, environmental causes, and self-esteem and/or body tissues. People living with eating disorders develop harmful behaviors that can lead to both physical and psychological symptoms. Identifying these behaviors and symptoms can help loved ones and those living with these issues get a better idea of which eating disorder they may be experiencing.

Anorexia Nervosa

This eating disorder is the most dangerous eating disorder of them all. It leads to more fatalities than any other type of eating disorder. People that live with anorexia nervosa may think they are overweight when in reality they aren’t. So, they overcompensate in order to lose weight and change body image by restricting their diet, using diuretics, and putting their bodies through intense exercises. Some signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa can include:

  • restricting eating behaviors like extreme dieting and not eating
  • obsessing over losing weight and being thin
  • fearing gaining weight
  • denying low body weight or being thin
  • self-esteem determined by the ‘look’ of being thin or a small body size

While the above are psychological symptoms of eating disorders, restricting eating, dieting, and the use of diuretics can also promote a host of various physical symptoms as well. Some of the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia can include:

  • malnutrition resulting in decreased function of the immune system
  • thinning and loss of hair
  • brittle and breaking nails
  • developing of a yellowish tint to the skin
  • constipation
  • feeling cold due to lowered body temperature
  • damage to the brain
  • exhaustion and fatigue
  • muscle deterioration
  • heart damage

Bulimia Nervosa

The characteristics of bulimia nervosa are different from anorexia and involve a pattern of behavior known as ‘binging and purging’. Individuals with this disorder have a disordered view of body image, like individuals with anorexia. And, associate their self-esteem with their body image or size. So, to appease their low self-esteem, they act to overindulge in eating, experience feelings of guilt and then purge their bodies of the food they’ve eaten. Purging behaviors can include self-induced vomiting or the use of diuretics to rid the body of a meal before it can digest.

Some of the signs and symptoms of bulimia may include:

  • the decaying of teeth (from the acid in vomit)
  • damage to the gastrointestinal tract
  • development of acid reflux
  • dehydration
  • malnourishment
  • decreased levels of electrolytes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
Binge Eating Disorder

While every person may overindulge and eat a bit extra every once in a while, those diagnosed with binge eating disorder experience an overwhelming urge to overeat. Binge eating disorder is characterized by a compulsion to eat excessive amounts of food in small time frames. After eating, rather than purging like those with bulimia do, individuals may feel guilty and attempt to eat smaller meals or exercise intensely. However, these behaviors may actually lead to more serious bingeing episodes.

Some of the signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder can include:

  • having no control over the amount of food that’s eaten in one sitting
  • eating large amounts of food rapidly
  • experiencing negative emotions after eating (guilt, shame, remorse, hopelessness, etc.)
  • dieting and exercising without experiencing weight loss
  • eating even after the point of feeling full
  • avoidance behaviors (eating in private, hiding food wrappers, etc.)

Getting Treatment for Eating Disorders

So, how does one know when it’s time to get help for an eating disorder? In many cases, individuals may deny the fact that they need help for an eating disorder. Therefore, the first step is to accept that you may need help and a change of lifestyle. Finally, once this is accepted, professional assistance through outpatient eating disorder treatment can help. Thus, giving people the tools and education they need to overcome their eating disordered behaviors.

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