Eating Disorders

Eating disorders – such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-eating disorder, and Eating Disorders NOS – are all insidious, imprisoning, and pervasive. Eating disorders are illnesses in which one suffers severe disturbances in their eating behaviors, related thoughts and emotions. It permeates all aspects of each sufferer’s life and has profound effects on the individuals suffering and their loved ones. Once “it” has its grips on you or someone you love, the sun stops shining and the flowers seem to stop blooming. Being with that eating disorder becomes the only thing that matters. Eating disorders are extremes in eating behaviors-a diet that never ends. But while eating disorders may begin with a preoccupation with food, shape, and weight, they become about much more than food. People with eating disorders most often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem too overwhelming. A common thread between all eating disorders is low self-esteem. Self-esteem is the degree to which an individual values and respects themselves, and is proud of his or her accomplishments. According to Steinhausen, 1993, components that are characteristic of low self-esteem are insecurity, negative mood and depression, poor body image, feelings of inadequacy, social and personal withdrawal, poor adaptation skills, and unrealistically high aspirations. All these traits are seen fairly consistently in individuals suffering from eating disorders.

Eating disorders involve intense preoccupation with behaviors and rituals surrounding food- obsessively counting calories, binging on food in secret, throwing up after eating, following rigid diets, but again, eating disorders go far deeper than just about food. The constant intrusive thoughts surrounding body, weight, and food issues can inevitably lead to isolation, secrecy, depression, self-mutilation, substance and alcohol abuse, and even social phobias. But don’t get me wrong, depression, anxiety, loneliness, trauma, difficulty expressing feelings, genetics, media and cultural pressures, troubled family and personal relationships, fear and refusal to grow up, substance and alcohol abuse are also vulnerability factors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. There is no single cause of eating disorders. Eating disorders affects individuals on a physical, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual level. As one may be seeking control through food, the truth is the food is actually controlling them and they are therefore losing control.

Eating disorders have no discrimination; they are found in every culture, religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic group. In a majority of cases, eating disorders occur together with other psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse. Although, symptoms of an eating disorder usually begin in adolescence, there are many signs present long before. But unfortunately, how would one know if they don’t even know what they are looking for? But it IS NEVER TOO LATE to get help. Eating disorders are a serious illness that can have life-threatening consequences. BUT YOU CAN GET THE HELP YOU NEED…