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What Makes Eating Disorders So Difficult To Identify

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Work To Separate Your Eating Disorder Voice From Your Healthy Voice

Eating Disorders: Why is it so Hard to Treat Them? | Ilona Kajokiene | TEDxVilnius

Starting to see your eating disorder voice as separate from your healthy voice can help you to learn how to externalize your disorder and disregard the lies that it tells you. Rather than getting angry at your eating disorder for telling you lies, try to examine the purpose that the eating disorder is serving in your life.

Ultimately, an eating disorder is a maladaptive coping strategy for numbing feelings, attempting to deal with past trauma, and experiencing a false sense of control. To try to uncover what is behind your eating disorder, one exercise that could be helpful would be to write a letter to your eating disorder.

In the letter, you could express the ways in which the eating disorder has served you until now, and then state the ways that it is harming you.

You could also externalize your eating disorder by writing a list of the unhelpful things that it tells you. Underneath each dysfunctional thought you could write something from the perspective of your healthy voice. Here are some ways that you could work to challenge some of the earlier examples of cognitive distortions:

Eating Disorder Voice: I can either eat the whole box of doughnuts or none at all.Healthy Voice: I can mindfully enjoy and savor one doughnut.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa

Also referred to more simply as anorexia, anorexia nervosa is one of the most widely known eating disorders today. In individuals with anorexia, there is a disconnect between how they perceive their bodies to be and how they really are.

If you have anorexia then, you may think that you are grossly overweight, even though you are clear or even clinically underweight in reality.

People with anorexia nervosa will oftentimes pay very careful attention to what they eat. They may strictly adhere to an intense and nutritionally lacking diet. Or they may obsessively portion out their meals to an unhealthy degree.

They may also compulsively weigh themselves, sometimes multiple times a day, or exercise more than a healthy amount.

Which Eating Disorder Is Worse

There are many different types of eating disorder and those who are affected by them will suffer in various ways. But the question of which eating disorder is worse often crops up when the subject is discussed. There are varying opinions about which is the worst eating disorder though, and because of this many experts are unable to agree. The reality is that all eating disorders can have devastating consequences for the individual as well as affecting the lives of those closest to them.

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How Might Eating Problems Affect My Life

Eating problems are not just about food. They can be about difficult things and painful feelings. You may be finding these hard to express, face or resolve.

Focusing on food can be a way of hiding these feelings and problems, even from yourself. Eating problems can affect you in lots of ways.

You might feel:

  • scared of other people finding out.

You might find that:

  • it’s hard to concentrate on your work, studies or hobbies
  • controlling food or eating has become the most important thing in your life
  • it’s hard to be spontaneous, to travel or to go anywhere new
  • your appearance is changing or has changed
  • you are bullied or teased about food and eating
  • you develop short- or long-term physical health problems
  • you want to avoid socialising, dates and restaurants or eating in public
  • you have to drop out of school or college, leave work or stop doing things you enjoy.

With friends, family or other people, you might feel that:

  • you’re distant from those who don’t know how you feel, or who are upset they can’t do more to help
  • they focus a lot on the effect eating problems can have on your body
  • they only think you have a problem if your body looks different to how they think it should be
  • they sometimes comment on your appearance in ways you find difficult
  • they don’t really understand how complicated things are for you.

What Is The Difference Between Anorexia Nervosa And Bulimia

What is Rumination Disorder?

Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia are characterized by an overvalued drive for thinness and a disturbance in eating behavior. The main difference between diagnoses is that anorexia nervosa is a syndrome of self-starvation involving significant weight loss of 15 percent or more of ideal body weight, whereas patients with bulimia nervosa are, by definition, at normal weight or above.

Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of dieting, binge-eating and compensatory purging behavior to prevent weight gain. Purging behavior includes vomiting, diuretic or laxative abuse. When underweight individuals with anorexia nervosa also engage in bingeing and purging behavior the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa supercedes that of binge/purging type.

Excessive exercise aimed at weight loss or at preventing weight gain is common in both anorexia nervosa and in bulimia.

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What Forms Of Treatment Are Effective For Bulimia Nervosa

Most uncomplicated cases of bulimia nervosa can be treated on an outpatient basis although inpatient treatment is occasionally indicated. The best psychological treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which involves self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the eating disorder. Therapy is focused on normalizing eating behavior and identifying environmental triggers and irrational thoughts or feeling states that precipitate bingeing or purging. Patients are taught to challenge irrational beliefs about weight and self-esteem. Several medications have also been shown to be effective in decreasing bingeing and purging behaviors in bulimia.

Diagnosing An Eating Disorder


People who have an eating disorder may eat too little or too much food. They may also be preoccupied with their shape or weight.

Eating disorders can affect anyone. But females in the United States are twice as likely as males to have the illness, according to the National Eating Disorders Association .

There are four main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa: People with this condition dont eat enough. And they may have an extremely thin appearance.
  • Bulimia nervosa: People with this condition overeat and then purge to avoid gaining weight. They may also abuse laxatives and diet pills.
  • Binge eating: People with this condition eat uncontrollably and dont purge.
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder : This condition was originally called eating disorders not otherwise specified .

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But several factors can contribute to the disease. Eating disorders may begin in the teen and young adult years. These are ages when many people are focused on their self-image. The illness can also run in families. Some emotional disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, increase the risk for an eating disorder.

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When To Seek Support

With support and treatment, it is possible to recover from eating disorders. If a person believes that they have any form of disordered eating, they should speak with a doctor or a mental health professional as soon as possible.

Eating disorder recovery often involves working with a team to address the underlying causes of the condition, as well as its physical effects. The team may include:

  • a registered dietitian, who can help someone learn about the bodys need for nutrients and how to work toward a balanced diet
  • a primary care doctor, who can help heal or manage physical symptoms
  • a dentist, who can address the effects of bulimia on the teeth
  • a psychiatrist, if a person needs medications to reduce psychological symptoms

People can also benefit from online or in-person support groups. Some support groups are specifically for people with eating disorders, such as those associated with the National Eating Disorders Association . Others deal with support for mental illness in general, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness Connection groups.

Inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs for people with eating disorders can include many of the above services in one place.

During the recovery process, compassion and support from family, friends, and colleagues are important. Some support groups or recovery programs may allow loved ones to attend sessions so that they can gain an understanding of eating disorders.

Signs Of An Eating Disorder To Watch For

My eating disorder story | Anorexia and bulimia

Eating disorders, as you can see, are not something to be taken lightly. Whats more, just like a substance use disorders, behavioral addictions like eating disorders are a disease, not a choice.

But just like any other disease, it often takes professional help in order to overcome an eating disorder.

If you or someone you know might be suffering from anorexia, bulimia, BED, or any other eating disorder you owe it to yourself and to them to seek out help. And the first step towards recovery is identifying the problem.

One of the best eating disorder tests is spotting the symptoms. Listed below are some signs to watch out for. While these disorders are not limited to expressing these symptoms, its certainly a good place to start.

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Eating to the point of being uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone due to being embarrassed
  • Continually eating, even when you are not hungry
  • Feeling guilty, depressed, or disgusted after the meal

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What About The Treatment Of Other Eating Disorders Including Bed Arfid And Osfed

Eating disorders are behavioral problems and the most successful modalities of treatment all focus on normalizing eating and weight control behaviors whilst managing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Increasingly, we understand eating disorders as not just psychological problems but as disorders of learning and habit. Changing established habits can feel challenging, however practice of healthy eating behavior under expert therapeutic guidance helps develop skills needed to manage anxieties regarding food, weight and shape — all of which fade over time with the gradual achievement of mastery over recovery.

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What is anorexia nervosa? What behaviors are common for those with anorexia?

What is bulimia nervosa? What behaviors are common for those with bulimia?

Was anything mentioned about anorexia or bulimia in the videos surprising to you?

Why are eating disorders so hard to identify? What makes eating disorders difficult to treat?

In your opinion, why is American culture obsessed with being thin? Is this phenomenon seen in other cultures? Why or why not?

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Getting Help For Someone Else

It can be difficult to know what to do if you’re worried that someone has an eating disorder.

They may not realise they have an eating disorder. They may also deny it, or be secretive and defensive about their eating or weight.

Let them know you’re worried about them and encourage them to see a GP. You could offer to go along with them.

Negative Consequences Of Binge Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders and Mental Health

As those who suffer from binge eating disorder do not purge themselves, the most obvious consequence of this condition is obesity. Moreover, with obesity comes many other problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

Binge eating disorder sufferers also usually suffer from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem because of their weight, which can then lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

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Common Causes Of Emotional Eating

Stress. Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? Its not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foodsfoods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.

Stuffing emotions. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or stuff down uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While youre numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions youd rather not feel.

Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Do you ever eat simply to give yourself something to do, to relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? You feel unfulfilled and empty, and food is a way to occupy your mouth and your time. In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.

Social influences. Getting together with other people for a meal is a great way to relieve stress, but it can also lead to overeating. Its easy to overindulge simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating. You may also overeat in social situations out of nervousness. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and its easier to go along with the group.

What Makes Eating Disorders So Dangerous And Hard To Overcome

Identify what eating disorders are and why they are so prevalent. Also address why they are often so hard to pinpoint in some people. What makes eating disorders so dangerous and hard to overcome

The paper should be written in the students own words, and no more than 4 pages in length, including a title page and reference page. This means two pages of content, which requires clear and focused writing.

Avoid excessive use of quotations. Include page numbers, clear and accurate writing, following APA style. Use double spacing, 10-12 font, with 1-inch margins.

A similarity score should be under 20%. Please check the Q & A post on Canvas if you

have any questions.

To submit your paper:

  • Submit an electronic copy in the assignment drop box by the due date.

If illness or an emergency prevents a student from meeting deadlines, the instructor must be notified before class.

Evaluation Criteria for Paper

A similarity score should be under 20%. Please check the Q & A post on Canvas if you have any questions.

Resources used as rationale for approaches and as sources of content

_____ 5. write paper in a scholarly manner Format includes title page, body of paper, & reference page, with pages numbered

_____ 5. Write the Paper in a scholarly manner Format includes title page, body of paper, & reference page, with pages numbered

10 % $ 50

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Warning Signs Of An Eating Disorder

Many people worry about their weight, what they eat, and how they look. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults, who face extra pressure to fit in and look attractive at a time when their bodies are changing. As a result, it can be challenging to tell the difference between an eating disorder and normal self-consciousness, weight concerns, or dieting. Further complicating matters, people with an eating disorder will often go to great lengths to hide the problem. However, there are warning signs you can watch for. And as eating disorders progress, the red flags become easier to spot.

Symptoms Of Food Addiction


Speaking of the signs of food addiction, it can be difficult to distinguish food addiction from chronic overeating or simply overindulging occasionally. By paying close attention to others or even yourself, youll be able to pick out a few signs, though. Since food addiction isnt in the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , there arent definitive signs of food addiction. You can look for the general signs of an addiction or eating disorder, however, there is a large overlap. These signs can be:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Use to self-medicate for physical or emotional issues
  • Sacrifice other aspects of their personal lives

There are some commonly named signs that connect directly with food addiction. Among these are things like getting cravings, even when youre full, or eating to the point of discomfort. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous , an organization similar to Alcoholics Anonymous , created a list of 20 questions that may point toward problematic symptoms of food addiction. While there are many signs that can point toward food addiction, one of the most significant is a loss of control. If you cant control your eating habits, red flags should be going off.

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Pause When Cravings Hit And Check In With Yourself

Most emotional eaters feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, its all you can think about. You feel an almost unbearable tension that demands to be fed, right now! Because youve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isnt up to snuff. But the truth is that you have more power over your cravings than you think.

Talking About Eating Problems

Binge eating disorder and your actions

If you experience binge eating disorder, you might:

  • eat large amounts all at once
  • eat without really thinking about it, especially when doing other things
  • often eat unhealthy food
  • eat for comfort when you feel stressed, upset, bored or unhappy
  • eat until you feel uncomfortably full or sick
  • hide how much you are eating
  • find dieting hard whenever you try it.

“I dread any event with a buffet. Because I know I’ll eat and I’ll keep eating and I won’t even enjoy it but I’ll eat because I feel somehow I have to. I’ll eat even when I’m feeling full, when I’m feeling bloated, feeling pain in my gut, feeling sick.”

Binge eating disorder and your body

While experiencing binge eating disorder, you might:

  • put on weight

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What’s It Like To Have An Eating Problem

If you have an eating problem, there are many ways that it can affect how you feel or behave. The way you eat, and how you think about food, may be one of the most noticeable effects.

Warning: the video and the examples below may be upsetting and potentially triggering. If you are feeling vulnerable at the moment, you might want to move on to the next section.

Watch Shaista, Dave, Lilith and Olivia talk about their eating problems. They discuss their experiences of eating disorders such as anorexia, restrictive eating, bingeing and purging. This video is seven minutes and 16 seconds long.

  • restrict the amount of food you eat
  • eat more than you need, or feel out of control when you eat
  • eat regularly in secret or have a fear of eating in public
  • feel very anxious about eating or digesting food
  • eat in response to difficult emotions without feeling physically hungry
  • stick to a rigid set of diet rules or certain foods
  • feel anxious and upset if you have to eat something else
  • do things to get rid of what you eat, sometimes known as purging
  • feel disgusted at the idea of eating certain foods
  • eat things that aren’t really food, such as dirt, soap or paint
  • feel scared of certain types of food
  • think about food and eating a lot, even all the time
  • compare your body to other people’s and think a lot about its shape or size
  • check, test and weigh your body very often
  • base your self-worth on your weight, or whether you pass your checks and tests.

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