Treatment Of Eating Disorders
For any type of eating disorder, a psychiatrist should be consulted for qualified support and supervision.
Unfortunately, people rarely turn to specialists at the first symptoms that allow diagnosing eating disorders, so most often the correction requires a whole range of measures.
Several specialists are necessarily involved in the process: a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, a psychologist, a gastroenterologist and other specialists as needed.
Comprehensive treatment of eating disorders is carried out in several stages:
restoration of the central nervous system
Breaking Down Eating Disorder Myths
Its true that more women suffer from eating disorders than men. But men, athletes, and the transgender, gay, and BIPOC community are often vastly overlooked and underdiganosed. Binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa are the three most common forms of eating disorders, but there are many gray areas between and within each of these diagnoses.
The path to disordered eating and eating disorder signs looks different and varies widely for everyone. Because of this, it can make the disorder hard to diagnose. As a result, it can be common for eating disorders to be vastly underreported or even screened for in healthcare settings.
Check If You Have An Eating Disorder
If you or people around you are worried that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you could have an eating disorder.
Symptoms of eating disorders include:
- spending a lot of time worrying about your weight and body shape
- avoiding socialising when you think food will be involved
- eating very little food
- making yourself sick or taking laxatives after you eat
- exercising too much
- having very strict habits or routines around food
- changes in your mood such as being withdrawn, anxious or depressed
You may also notice physical signs, including:
- feeling cold, tired or dizzy
- pains, tingling or numbness in your arms and legs
- feeling your heart racing, fainting or feeling faint
- problems with your digestion, such as bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
- your weight being very high or very low for someone of your age and height
- not getting your period or other delayed signs of puberty
You can read more about the symptoms of:
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Get Help For Eating Disorders After Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms
Identifying the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is the first step to getting help for disordered eating. Professional help, like the outpatient eating disorder treatment available at Yellowbrick, can give young people the help they need to establish healthy coping behaviors and adjust negative thought patterns associated with disordered eating. Find out more about how we can help you or a loved one living with an eating disorder today.
How Is Bulimia Diagnosed
You likely keep your binging and purging secret. This is so family, friends, and healthcare providers wont know about it. If you seek help from a healthcare professional for bulimia, he or she will want to gather a detailed history of your behaviors from you, your family, parents, and others. Sometimes, psychological testing is done.
Blood tests may be done to check overall health and nutritional status.
Early treatment can often prevent future problems. Bulimia, and the malnutrition that results, can affect nearly every organ system in the body. Bulimia can be deadly. If you suspect bulimia, talk with a healthcare provider for more information.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can involve unmistakable changes, such as severe weight loss, as well as hidden signs, such as binge-eating alone. Identifying an eating disorder as soon as possible is important because earlier treatment raises the prospect of a successful recovery.
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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
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Preoccupation With Nutritional Content
A dedication to eating nutritious food is admirable, but if someone you know begins to classify foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, safe or unsafe, and is constantly searching out organic, low-fat diet foods, frequently visits websites focused on nutrition, or suddenly declares they are vegetarian or vegan, this, in conjunction with other behaviors, could be a sign that they need help.
Treatments For Eating Disorders
Starting treatment as early as possible is important because there can be long-term health consequences for people with chronic eating disorders.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to treating eating disorders since everyone is different. Often a team of health professionals is involved in an individual’s treatment, including a psychologist, dietitian and doctor.
Some of the treatment options include:
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Eating Disorders
People who get treatment for eating disorders often recover and go on to lead healthy lives. Its helpful to detect a problem early and start treatment right away.
There are different levels of care, including:
- Outpatient therapy .
- Intensive outpatient therapy .
- Inpatient therapy .
Your primary care doctor will work with you to decide what level of treatment would be right for you.
Left untreated, people with eating disorders can develop life-threatening complications. Some people may need to receive medical and mental health care at a hospital or treatment center.
What To Expect At Each Level Of Treatment:
Outpatient: for someone who is beginning to struggle with an eating disorder, or who is stepping down from residential or intensive outpatient . There are two approaches to outpatient treatment: multi-disciplinary and family-based.
Multi-disciplinary: This type of treatment often involves regular meetings with ALL members of the treatment team. Medical providers usually schedule weight-checks for patients who are recovering from an eating disorder anywhere from 3 times a week to once a month. They may also want to check blood pressure, heart rate, and urine to make sure the patient is drinking enough fluids. Meetings with the therapist and dietitian may be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly.
Family-based treatment : This type of treatment puts parents and/or family members in charge of the recovery process. Family members control their childs food and offer support at every meal and snack with guidance from a licensed therapist who specializes in family-based treatment. Family-based treatment is usually done at home, and may involve only the family-based therapist and a medical doctor, but other health professionals may also be involved. The focus of the treatment is on weight restoration and behavioral change. Once weight is restored the therapy will focus on normal adolescent developmental issues. This type of therapy is sometimes referred to as the Maudsley approach.
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Treatment For Eating Disorders
You can recover from an eating disorder, but it may take time and recovery will be different for everyone.
If you’re referred to an eating disorder specialist or team of specialists, they’ll be responsible for your care.
They should talk to you about the support you might need, such as for other conditions you have, and include this in your treatment plan.
Your treatment will depend on the type of eating disorder you have, but usually includes a talking therapy.
You may also need regular health checks if your eating disorder is having an impact on your physical health.
Your treatment may also involve working through a guided self-help programme if you have bulimia or binge eating disorder.
Most people will be offered individual therapy, but those with binge eating disorder may be offered group therapy.
Read more about the different treatments for:
Treatment for other specified feeding or eating disorder will depend on the type of eating disorder your symptoms are most like.
For example, if your symptoms are most like anorexia, your treatment will be similar to the treatment for anorexia.
Types Of Eating Disorders
The most common eating disorders are:
- anorexia nervosa trying to control your weight by not eating enough food, exercising too much, or doing both
- bulimia losing control over how much you eat and then taking drastic action to not put on weight
- binge eating disorder eating large portions of food until you feel uncomfortably full
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Signs Of Anorexia Athletica Include:
- Low energy levels or fatigue
- Problems with concentration or focus
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Denying that excessive exercise is a problem
- Enjoyment of sports and activity is diminished or non-existent
- Obsessive thoughts and behaviors surrounding calories, body image, and weight
- Excessive exercise
Athletes who suffer from this disease have a hard time admitting they need help and may also experience obsessive-compulsive tendencies. They also may be perfectionists or Type A personalities.
What Are The Treatments For Eating Disorders
Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to individual needs. You will likely have a team of providers helping you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists. The treatments may include:
- Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy. Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioral approaches, which help you to identify and change negative and unhelpful thoughts. It also helps you build coping skills and change behavioral patterns.
- Medical care and monitoring, including care for the complications that eating disorders can cause
- Nutrition counseling. Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Medicines, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, may help treat some eating disorders. The medicines can also help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with eating disorders.
Some people with serious eating disorders may need to be in a hospital or in a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
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Diagnosis Of Eating Disorders
Medical physicians or mental health professionals, including psychiatrists and psychologists, can diagnose eating disorders. Often, a pediatrician or primary care doctor will diagnose an eating disorder after noticing symptoms during a regular check-up or after a parent or family member expresses concern over their loved one’s behavior.
Although there is no one laboratory test to screen for eating disorders, your doctor can use a variety of physical and psychological evaluations as well as lab tests to determine your diagnosis, including:
- A physical exam, during which your provider will check your height, weight, and vital signs
- Lab tests, including a complete blood count, liver, kidney, and thyroid function tests, urinalysis, X-ray, and an electrocardiogram
- Psychological evaluation, which includes personal questions about your eating behaviors, binging, purging, exercise habits, and body image
There are also multiple questionnaires and assessment tools used to assess a person’s symptoms, including:
- Eating Disorder Inventory
- Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire
The Dos And Donts Of Intervention
If you recognize some warning signs in yourself or a loved one, consider the following recommendations:
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The First Steps To Recovery
If you or someone you care about exhibits one or more of the warning signs listed, you need to act. An eating disorder can quickly take on a life of its own. The treatment process can be started by contacting the individuals primary care physician for a physical evaluation, including laboratory studies and an EKG.
Now its time to find the appropriate level of treatment. Depending on the severity of the issue, this may be a therapist who is comfortable working with eating disorders, an outpatient eating disorder program, or even an inpatient facility that can offer round-the-clock care.
Eating disorders can be successfully treated, especially when they are caught early, but its important to get help as soon as possible.
What Are The Symptoms Of Eating Disorders
It is not always easy to tell if someone has an eating disorder, since they may try to hide it because of shame or guilt. However, some of the behaviours associated with eating disorders include:
- Dieting: this could mean calorie counting, fasting, skipping meals, avoiding certain food groups or having obsessive rituals related to eating.
- Binge eating: including hoarding of food or the disappearance of large amounts of food from the kitchen.
- Purging: vomiting or using laxatives to rid the body of food. People who purge often make trips to the bathroom during or after eating.
- Excessive exercise: a person may refuse to disrupt their exercise routine for any reason, insist on doing a certain number of repetitive exercises or become distressed if unable to exercise.
- Social withdrawal: the person may avoid social events and situations that involve eating, or they prefer to eat alone.
- Body image: the person may focus on body shape and weight.
- Change in clothing style: the person may start wearing baggy clothes, for example.
There are also physical signs that a person may have an eating disorder, such as:
- Weight changes: fluctuations in weight or rapid weight loss.
- Disturbed menstrual cycle: loss of or disrupted periods.
- Being cold: sensitivity to cold weather.
- Inability to concentrate .
Some of the emotional signs of an eating disorder include:
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Coping With An Eating Disorder
Caring for your physical and mental health will go a long way toward helping you cope with an eating disorder. In addition to talking to a therapist or joining a support group , seek support from a trusted friend or family member who can be there for you along your path to recovery.
Beyond self-care, its also essential to identify a few healthy distractions you can turn to when you find yourself obsessing about food and weight or experiencing the urge to turn to disordered eating or behaviors. Here are a few to consider:
- Explore a new hobby, like photography, painting, or knitting
- Invest in an adult coloring book
Types Of Eating Disorders: Symptoms Causes And Effects
Eating disorders are about more than just fad diets and vanity they are a serious mental illness that could ultimately cause the end of someones life. Its estimated that as many as 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder. Approximately 4-10% of male and 10-20% of female college students are dealing with an eating disorder.
In spite of heightened awareness of some of the more common types of eating disorders, there are still many misconceptions. Lets take a look at some facts to help dispel the myths of eating disorders.
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What Causes Eating Disorders
Experts believe that a variety of factors may contribute to eating disorders.
One of these is genetics. People who have a sibling or parent with an eating disorder seem to be at an increased risk of developing one .
Personality traits are another factor. In particular, neuroticism, perfectionism, and impulsivity are three personality traits often linked to a higher risk of developing an eating disorder, according to a 2015 research review .
Other potential causes include perceived pressures to be thin, cultural preferences for thinness, and exposure to media promoting these ideals .
More recently, experts have proposed that differences in brain structure and biology may also play a role in the development of eating disorders. In particular, levels of the brain messaging chemicals serotonin and dopamine may be factors .
However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
Anorexia nervosa is likely the most well-known eating disorder.
It generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood and tends to affect more women than men .
People with anorexia generally view themselves as overweight, even if theyre dangerously underweight. They tend to constantly monitor their weight, avoid eating certain types of foods, and severely restrict their calorie intake.
Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include :
However, its important to note that weight should not be the major focus of diagnosing someone with anorexia.
Eating Disorders And Their Symptoms
Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions and not just occasional binges. They usually require extensive medical and psychological treatment for proper management. Eating disorders may be caused by several factors
- Certain medical and mental disorders
- Media, peer pressure and cultural beliefs
Eating disorders typically begin with an unhealthy obsession with food, body weight or shape. Eating disorders require medical attention because they could lead to short-term and long-term health complications, which can be fatal.
There are six common types of eating disorders. Their causes or triggers and their symptoms vary.
This is the most well-known eating disorder. It tends to affect women more than men and typically seen in young adults. They perceive themselves as being overweight, even if they are underweight. They tend to constantly monitor their weight, avoid eating certain types of foods and restrict their calorie intake.
Like anorexia, bulimia nervosa is also a well-known eating disorder that is more commonly seen in women, adolescents and young adults. People with bulimia typically eat large amounts of food till they are painfully full. They are unable to stop or control their waiting. The binging is followed by purging, which includes forced vomiting, fasting, taking laxatives, diuretics and enema or excessive exercising. However, individuals with bulimia usually maintain normal body weight.
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