Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Hopefully, you have a wonderful treatment team in place that you can call for help and support, no questions asked. But are you also including your family and friends and giving them a chance to support you in recovery? Asking for help can be a daily process and may require you to ask for specific things that they can help you with.
How To Get Help Or Support Someone Whos Struggling
When it comes to our mental health, people who struggle with negative body image feel that their bodies are inferior to others, and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, and low self-esteem. Beyond just mental and physical health, having an intensely negative body image can lead to lack of participation in and withdrawal from social plans, as well as shying away from intimacy, potentially eroding communication and trust in friendships and relationships.
Its extremely important to encourage loved ones who may be struggling with these issues to seek professional help or get help yourself. In most cases, eating disorders can be treated successfully by appropriately trained health and mental health care professionals. As always, if you feel out of control and need help immediately, text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK .
Additionally, our article Tips for Body Positivity: Ways to Feel Better About Our Bodies, offers resources and information to help you or someone you know get help and feel better about themselves.
What Will Happen At The Appointment
At the appointment, your GP may look at your weight for your age and monitor significant weight changes, ask about concerns you have over your weight or body shape, talk about eating disorder behaviours, and might also take some blood for testing. They should look at the psychological factors of your illness, not just focus on physical signs. If youre supporting someone else as they get treatment, the GP should listen to your concerns as well. This might include how the eating disorder is impacting your mental health, and the support that you might need.
It can be frightening, but try to be as open with the doctor about how you are feeling and the impact your eating difficulties are having on you. If you feel nervous about what might happen during the appointment you can talk to your doctor about this at the start. You might find it helpful to write down the points you would like to talk about before your appointment, and any questions that you might have.
You can also ask someone you trust to come along with you to the appointment. You can still ask to speak to the GP alone for parts of the appointment. Anything a patient tells their doctor remains confidential, unless:
- They are under 16 and not considered able to make decisions about their own treatment.
- They refuse treatment for a life-threatening illness.
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Don’t Avoid All Situations That Make You Anxious
Recovery from an eating disorder requires facing situations that you may have been avoiding, such as eating certain foods, tolerating feelings of fullness, and tolerating feelings of anxiety when you do not exercise. Work with your treatment team to develop a plan to gradually face these situations.
Getting Help For An Eating Disorder
If you think you may have an eating disorder, see a GP as soon as you can.
A GP will ask about your eating habits and how you’re feeling, plus check your overall health and weight.
They may refer you to an eating disorder specialist or team of specialists.
It can be very hard to admit you have a problem and ask for help. It may make things easier if you bring a friend or loved one with you to your appointment.
You can also talk in confidence to an adviser from eating disorders charity Beat by calling their adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.
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How To Get Help For An Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can be life-threatening if left untreated. In fact, they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders . Getting help for an eating disorder is therefore critically important for anyone affected by the illness. It starts with knowing when to seek help, including the signs and symptoms to watch for
An eating disorder is a condition that is marked by an unhealthy relationship with food. The National Institute of Mental Health outlines three main types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
How Do I Know If I Need Inpatient Treatment
If you think you have an eating disorder, if your symptoms have persisted or worsened despite attempts at outpatient treatment, or if you feel constantly preoccupied by thoughts of food and weight, then a good place to start is with a comprehensive evaluation in our Consultation Clinic. To safely provide the best possible care during the COVID pandemic, we have expanded our outpatient telemedicine services to include remote clinical consultation and outpatient visits with our eating disorders doctors by videolink across multiple states. Video visits allow patients to connect face-to-face in real time without leaving their home by using their smartphone, tablet or computer. Virtual connections are secure and HIPAA compliant.
You will be seen by a psychiatrist who will perform a thorough review of your history and symptoms, medical tests and past treatment. We recommend you forward any past treatment records ahead of your appointment for the doctor to review. Whenever possible we ask that you attend the consultation with a close family member or significant other, since we believe family support and involvement is very important when you are struggling with an eating disorder. The doctor will also be interested in any medical or psychiatric problems you may have besides the eating disorder.
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Restricting Food Or Dieting
- Making excuses to avoid meals or situations involving food
- Eating only tiny portions or specific low-calorie foods, and often banning entire categories of food such as carbs and dietary fat
- Obsessively counting calories, reading food labels, and weighing portions
- Developing restrictive food rituals such as eating foods in certain orders, rearranging food on a plate, excessive cutting or chewing.
- Taking diet pills, prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, or even illegal drugs such as amphetamines
Edanz: Helping The Helpers
EDANZ is run by parents, caregivers, and people who have fully recovered from eating disorders. Although we don’t have medical qualifications, we’ve experienced the challenges of eating disorders in real life.
We offer support, help and resources to people caring for loved ones with an eating disorder, but we are not able to offer treatment or medical advice for patients themselves. If you have, or are concerned you have an eating disorder, we urge you to visit your GP. Click here for advice on speaking to your GP for the first time.
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How Are Eating Disorders Diagnosed
Health care providers and mental health professionals diagnose eating disorders based on history, symptoms, thought patterns, eating behaviors, and an exam.
The doctor will check weight and height and compare these to previous measurements on growth charts. The doctor may order tests to see if there is another reason for the eating problems and to check for problems caused by the eating disorder.
How Can It Affect Your Mouth
People with eating disorders may go long periods of time without brushing and flossing their teeth, causing plaque to build up. It also may cause tooth loss due to malnutrition. Some people with eating disorders chew ice to create a sense of fullness. This practice, termed ice chewing or pica, can wear down the teeth enamel and lead to tooth loss.
People with anorexia nervosa have a very low body weight, which can lead to poor health. They tend to have dry skin and brittle hair, loss of muscle mass, lack of menstruation for women, irregular heartbeats, constipation, and bloating. They also may have yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, brittle nails, and fine hair on the face.
A dentist may be able to detect an eating disorder by looking at a persons oral health, such as tooth decay or plaque buildup. Poor dental hygiene could also indicate that someone has an eating disorder.
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How To Talk To Someone About Their Eating Disorder
The decision to make a change is rarely an easy one for someone with an eating disorder. If the eating disorder has left them malnourished, it can distort the way they thinkabout their body, the world around them, even your motivations for trying to help. Bombarding them with dire warnings about the health consequences of their eating disorder or trying to bully them into eating normally probably wont work. Eating disorders often fill an important role in the persons lifea way to cope with unpleasant emotionsso the allure can be strong. Since you may be met with defensiveness or denial, youll need to tread carefully when broaching the subject.
Pick a good time. Choose a time when you can speak to the person in private without distractions or constraints. You dont want to have to stop in the middle of the conversation because of other obligations! Its also important to have the conversation at a time of emotional calm. Dont try to have this conversation right after a blow up.
Explain why youre concerned. Be careful to avoid lecturing or criticizing, as this will only make your loved one defensive. Instead, refer to specific situations and behaviors youve noticed, and why they worry you. Your goal at this point is not to offer solutions, but to express your concerns about the persons health, how you much you love them, and your desire to help.
What not to do
Social Media And Eating Disorders
The presence of social media is impossible to escape these days. Keeping up with multiple accounts can become exhausting. For some, reflections fed back from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can often reinforce existing feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness as well as lead to increased isolation. On the other end of the spectrum, online interaction can allow sufferers of all mental health difficulties to develop a voice and feel supported. Social media can be of great comfort to some people with eating disorders by giving them a connection to others who understand and can relate to their struggles.
In 2014, a research team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analyzed 1,765 American adults aged 19 and 32 years old. They asked the participants to answer a series of questionnaires to describe their social media usage and also to determine their risk of developing eating disordered symptoms. Their findings revealed that the subjects who spent the most time engaged with social media each day had 2.2 times the risk of developing eating disorders. Additionally, those who most frequently checked their social media feeds weekly carried 2.6 times the risk.
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What Can Be Done If You Cant Treat The Cause
Eating disorder treatment is not about finding the cause. They are also not about getting rid of symptoms like purging. It is holistic physical, emotional and nutritional and above all designed to make someone happier, confident ,able to manage feelings, have better relationships and find meaning and purpose in life. A person who is healed from their eating disorder will have a grounded self-worth that is not dependent on being a perfect body size but the or she will be able to take care of themselves with food because they are deserving. This is a big ask but it is do-able by someone who is properly trained. The ideal treatment of an eating disorder looks forwards not back . It includes teaching a vast array of new skills as well as doing psychological work using powerful change techniques such as EFT or Neuro-linguistic Programming as well as traditional Expanded Cognitive and counselling therapies. Some understanding of childhood experiences is useful to start with and if there is trauma it must be healed with approaches that do not involve painful story telling. A trusting and sound relationship between the sufferer and therapist is perhaps the most important thing of all since change will always involve resistance from time to time, as the eating disorder loosens its hold.
At NCFED we help people to thrive, not just survive.
On The Inspiration For The Poem The Right Side Of History
I talk a lot in this book about being a peacemaker. Or a people pleaser. And learning to stand up for what I believe to be right and wrong has been a journey. This particular poem is about an instance where I tried to do the right thing, but it wasnt right, and it was a very real learning experience. But at the end of the day, I hope we are all trying to stand up for what we believe to be right, stand up for other people, and stand up for ourselves. Its not always going to be done perfectly, and thats where grace comes into play.
Being a role model means you need to be real.
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Do You Need More Help
Contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about support and resources in your area.
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.
How To Prevent Eating Disorders For Parents
It definitely pays to be informed about eating disorders in order to spot warning signs and seek out the proper treatment. This is especially true for parents of tweens and teens, who may be at an especially sensitive place for eating disorders as their bodies are changing due to puberty, and may also be facing increased peer pressure to have their figures look a certain way. Here are some eating disorder prevention tips for parents to help instill positive body image in their children and help head off eating disorders before they can take root.
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What Causes Anorexia
The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unknown. However, the condition sometimes runs in families young women with a parent or sibling with an eating disorder are likelier to develop one themselves.
Then there are psychological, environmental, and social factors that may contribute to the development of anorexia. People with anorexia come to believe that their lives would be better if only they were thinner. These people tend to be perfectionists and overachievers. In fact, the typical anorexic person is a good student involved in school and community activities. Many experts think that anorexia is part of an unconscious attempt to come to terms with unresolved conflicts or painful childhood experiences. While sexual abuse has been shown to be a factor in the development of bulimia, it is not associated with the development of anorexia.
Hales, R., and Yudofsky, S. , Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, 4th edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2003.
Brewerton, T., Clinical Handbook of Eating Disorders: An Integrated Approach – Edition 1, Marcel Dekker, Inc, 2004.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders website.
How Do Teens Cope
It is very natural for teens who feel anxious or stressed to seek ways to reduce their negative feelings and thoughts. Some positive coping strategies include participating in sports, creative arts or volunteer work. Each of these strategies can help reduce their stress and increase their self-esteem and resilience.
On the other hand, there are many coping strategies that may actually create more harm than good and interfere with a teen’s daily life, personal development and mental and physical health. Extreme dieting and the pursuit of thinness, along with alcohol and substance abuse or antisocial behaviours, are examples of unproductive and unhealthy strategies teens may choose to feel better, less anxious and more in control. Unfortunately, these behaviours usually cause more distress and isolation and may result in the development of eating disorders and/or addictions.
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Avoidant/restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, limits how much they eat or does both.
Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID.
Possible reasons for ARFID include:
- negative feelings over the smell, taste or texture of certain foods
- a response to a past experience with food that was upsetting, for example, choking or being sick after eating something
- not feeling hungry or just a lack of interest in eating
You can find out more about ARFID on the Beat website.