Sunday, February 25, 2024

Why Do Eating Disorders Happen

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What Insurance Does The Hospital Take

Why is Your Eating Disorder SO COMPETITIVE?

If you are being admitted to one of our hospital-based programs, both Inpatient and Partial Hospitalization, our business office will verify your benefits beforehand, and the admissions coordinator will contact you with information about your coverage. Admission to our program in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry qualifies as a mental health hospitalization and will be authorized under the mental health portion of your insurance, not the medical portion. Please see the Admissions page for more information.

Alcohol And Binge Eating

Binge eating disorder  is the most common eating disorder among adults in America. People living with BED often overeat in an attempt to escape negative emotions or feelings. This unhealthy coping mechanism can result in feelings of shame, guilt and self-loathing.

One cause of both binge eating and drinking can release dopamine. Dopamine produces feelings of pleasure, happiness and reward in the brain. Someone may initially be lacking dopamine or be experiencing anxiety and stress and looking for a way to cope.

Another cause of binge eating and drinking is associated with undiagnosed psychological disorders. For example, someone living with depression typically experiences similar symptoms of BED, such as feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness and decreased impulse control. Its a cyclical pattern of behavior because after binge drinking, someones inhibitions are lowered and they may feel less ashamed about eating in excess.

Researchers also attribute binge eating and drinking to societal pressures. The desire to fit in may cause the development of BED to achieve societys standard of a perfect body and people may feel pressured to binge drink to be able to interact in social situations.

What If I Have An Eating Disorder

If you think you may have an eating disorder:

Tell someone. Tell a parent, teacher, counselor, or an adult you trust. Let them know what you’re going through. Ask them to help.

Get help early. When an eating disorder is caught early, a person has a better chance of recovery. Make an appointment with your doctor or an eating disorders specialist.

Go to all appointments. Treatment takes time and effort. Work hard to learn about yourself and your emotions. Ask questions any time you have them.

Be patient with yourself. There’s so much to learn, and change happens a little at a time. Take care of yourself and be with people who support you.

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.

Teenagers And Eating Disorders

Trauma and Eating Disorders: Why do They Commonly Co

Teenagers are particularly susceptible to developing eating disorders due to the hormonal changes that occur during puberty paired with the pressure put on your people by their peers and by the media to be thin and attractive. While these changes are quite normal, and many teenagers practice unhealthy eating patterns from time to time some will begin to obsess about their diet, appearance or weight, and will consistently begin to overeat or starve themselves. They will begin to make frequent negative comments about their size, shape or weight, and may begin to display ongoing unhealthy behaviors around food. Teenagers and young adults are also under increased stress in their lives. They need to achieve at school and college in order to do well in life, and they often feel under pressure to excel by their family members. At the same time, peer pressure to fit in can cause even more problems. The effect can be a full-blown eating disorder that requires treatment.

Treating Eating Disorders In All Age Groups

Treating eating disorders isnt all about pinpointing the cause, but it also isnt just about eliminating the symptoms. The approach must be a holistic one that is designed to make the sufferer a happier, more confident person who can cope more effectively with their feelings and emotions, have much better relationships, and find more purpose and meaning in their life.

To treat eating disorders in any age group, its important to look to the future rather than back to the past, and teach the sufferer new coping skills that will equip them to face the challenges that they will inevitably face at some point in a healthier and safer way. A mix of therapies is required to heal past traumas while also furnishing the sufferer with methods and techniques that they can put to use to improve their lives.

The best way to address any type of eating disorder, regardless of the age, gender or situation of the sufferer, is to find an experienced and caring therapist who can offer the necessary guidance, support and help to guide the sufferer through their problems and show them new ways to navigate their future.

How Do Culture Media And Beauty Ideals Influence Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are prominent in Western cultures, which place a strong emphasis on thinness, weight, and beauty. This can lead young adults, especially women, to believe that their self-worth is tied to their weight.

Exposure to images of filtered, edited, and perfected bodies leads to self-comparisona process that occurs quickly, effortlessly, and sometimes unconsciously. Constant comparison can take a heavy toll on self-esteem and body satisfaction.

Cultural and media scripts may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. However, they cannot produce the condition on their own.

How Do I Find A Clinical Trial

Researchers at the NIMH conduct clinical trials on numerous areas of study, including cognition, genetics, epidemiology, and psychiatry. These clinical trials take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and may require regular visits. After an initial phone interview, you will come to an appointment at the clinic and meet with a clinician. Visit the NIMH Clinical Trials Participants or Join a Study pages for more information on participating in clinical trials.

To find a clinical trial near you, you can visit This website is a searchable registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. This information should be used in conjunction with advice from health professionals.

The Parents’ Role In Eating Disorders

Why Do People Develop Eating Disorders?

Forcing them to eat, punishing them, getting angry at them definitely not understanding whats happening to their kids. Many parents dont know what to do when they suspect that one of their children may be suffering from an eating disorder. Many of them go into denial, believing that its impossible that whatever is going on is actually happening. The role parents have in eating disorders is very complicated.

That just cant be happening to my child, its impossible for them to suffer from bulimia or anorexia. This attitude is counterproductive when there is a well-founded suspicion, since denial can delay the diagnosis and complicate the intervention. We cant blame parents for having such an attitude. Fear is a common emotion and it affects us all in one way or another. If parents postpone taking their child to a consultation, it doesnt mean that they dont want whats best for them.

On the other hand, teenage years tend to be very difficult. The changes that young people experience in that stage can lead to internal and external conflicts. Screams, fights, lack of understanding, and phrases such as That is teenage nonsense, along with the social pressure that exists in many cases, causes many eating disorders to be diagnosed too late.

The role parents have in eating disorders is very complicated. They have to accept whats happening and then put some strategies in motion to help their children.

What Forms Of Treatment Are Effective For Anorexia Nervosa

Treatment of anorexia nervosa involves nutritional rehabilitation to normalize weight and eating behavior. Psychotherapy is aimed at correcting irrational preoccupations with weight and shape, managing challenging emotions and anxieties and preventing relapse. Interventions include monitoring weight gain, prescribing an adequate diet, and admitting patients who fail to gain weight to a specialty inpatient or partial hospitalization program. Specialty programs combining close behavioral monitoring and meal support with psychological therapies are generally very effective in achieving weight gain in patients unable to gain weight in outpatient settings. The fear of fatness and body dissatisfaction characteristic of the disorder tend to extinguish gradually over several months once target weight and normal eating patterns are maintained, and 50-75% of patients eventually recover. No medications have been shown to significantly facilitate weight gain in patients with this disorder. In the case of patients under 18 years of age, family therapy aimed at helping parents support normal eating in their child has been found to be more effective than individual therapy alone.

It’s More Than Just A Cultural Phenomenon

Dr. Douglas Bunnell, a clinical psychologist and chief clinical officer at Monte Nido Eating Disorder Treatment Centers, discusses the possible reasons that eating disorders overwhelmingly affect young women in the video above.


There still is a big disparity between the rates for boys and girls. Its important to make the point that boys do get these disorders. But the fact is still that more girls are affected by this than boys, so there must be something about being female that loads your risk for this.

Its tempting to see it just as a cultural phenomenon or a socio-cultural phenomenon, but I think when we get to it and we really have the tools to understand it, were going to see that its a complex interaction between the biology of being female, the biology of being female at puberty, as people go through that phase of life, and the cultural factors.

I think for a clinician, even more importantly, it shapes the recovery environment for our patients. If youre a woman whos recovering from an eating disorder, youre recovering in an environment thats basically telling you that youre wrong to get better. If your goal is to gain weight, and youre living in a culture that is massively promoting the exact opposite, it takes a lot of wherewithal to swim against that. Managing the recovery environment is a potent factor in eating disorders treatment.

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What Help Is Available

Anorexia can happen to anyone. If youre worried you may have anorexia, contact your GP. They may not be an expert in treating eating disorders, but they will be able to assess any physical symptoms and then refer you to specialist eating disorder services.

Talking therapies

Talking therapies can help you identify the feelings and fears that triggered your anorexia and help you develop a healthier attitude towards food and your body. You may be offered:

  • Cognitive analytical therapy . This looks at past experiences and events to help you understand why you think, feel and behave the way you do now. Your therapist will then help you develop new tools to cope in a healthier way
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy . This focuses on identifying and changing the thoughts and beliefs that may trigger your anorexia. Your therapist will help you understand and change disordered thoughts such as everyone thinks I am fat. You may be set homework and goals around challenging any unhealthy rules you have around food.

Support for children and young people

The Maudsley Approach is a type of therapy to help children and young people with anorexia. It involves parents taking an active role in helping to get their childs weight to a normal level, gives control of eating choices back to the child, and then encourages them to develop a healthy independence.


Inpatient treatment

Mothers And Eating Disorders

Trauma and Eating Disorders: Why do They Commonly Co

Eating disorders are certainly not restricted to younger people. Stressful situations are a known trigger for food-related issues and one of the most challenging times in a womans life is after she becomes a mother. Its the perfect storm of a lack of self-confidence due to the changes that pregnancy and birth cause to their bodies and the added pressure of having to care for a child that can tip women at this stage of their life into an eating disorder. In an effort to gain more control in a difficult situation, they may turn to restrictive patterns of eating or, alternatively, seek comfort in food to cope with the problems they face.

Dieting Increases The Risk Of Developing Eating Disorders

Dieting is common among adolescents and normalised by society, but it is not a healthy behaviour and should not be considered a normal part of being an adolescent. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa can be triggered by dieting. A person who crash diets , substantially increases their risk of developing an eating disorder. Adolescents should not be encouraged to go on a diet.

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.

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.

Treatment For Eating Disorders

Depression, Schizophrenia, Bulimia & More: Why Does Misdiagnosis Happen? | MedCircle

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.

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.

Key Processes That Maintain Eating Disorders

According to cognitive behavior theory, a distinctive self-evaluation scheme , i.e., the overvaluation of shape, weight, eating and their control is of central importance in maintaining eating disorders.

Indeed, the other clinical features seen in these disorders seem to derive directly from this core psychopathology. These include extreme weight-control behaviors , various forms of body checking and avoidance, feeling fat, and preoccupation with eating, weight, and shape. These features of eating disorders are in fact expressions of the individuals belief that controlling their weight, shape and eating is of extreme importance in their self-evaluation.

The one behavior that is not a direct expression of the overvaluation of shape, weight, eating and their control is the binge-eating episode. This behavior is present in a large subgroup of people with eating disorders, and it derives indirectly from this overvaluation through the following mechanisms:

1. Severe undereating. The overvaluation of shape, weight, eating and their control can lead an individual to undereat. Doing so produces several changes of the neuroendocrine signals which control food intake, messaging hunger over satiety/satiation.

3. Events and associated mood changes. People tend to maintain binge-eating episodes through three main mechanisms:

  • Binge eating temporarily improves mood and distracts from problems. It may become a dysfunctional means of coping with these difficulties.
  • The Three Most Prevalent Eating Disorders:

    Eating disorders are regarded as mental illnesses and can take on various forms. They tend to affect more women than men, usually in the teen years or early adulthood but can develop earlier and later in life.

    Of any mental illness, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate. People with anorexia are at high risk of starvation, suicide or organ failure. Symptoms usually include restricted eating to the extreme, fear of gaining weight and a distorted self-image. Anorexic patients typically force themselves to vomit, use laxatives, or exercise excessively to lose weight.

    People with bulimia nervosa go through episodes of uncontrollable and excessive eating. These bouts of overeating are followed by purges, through fasting, forced vomiting, using laxatives and diuretics, or extreme exercise.

    Binge eating disorder is one of the most recently recognised disorders but is also relatively common. People with this disorder lose control over their eating and can eat quickly and in excess over a period of a few hours. They usually do this in private and even when they are not hungry. These episodes are often followed by remorse and guilt, however they dont purge themselves afterwards. Binge eating disorder is associated with obesity.

    Risk Factors For Eating Disorders

    We don’t know why some older children , particularly adolescents, develop an eating disorder and others don’t. However, many factors might influence an adolescent to develop an unhealthy eating pattern or to become afraid of gaining weight. These factors may be psychological, social, environmental or biological.

    Often, a combination of things may trigger an eating disorder in a vulnerable person.

    Society And Eating Disorders

    What Happens to Your Body When You Have an Eating Disorder?

    Current research indicates that eating disorders are likely the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While environmental factors alone cannot cause an eating disorder, many people have pointed to the role of social pressures for thinness as a factor that can have an impact on individuals who may be genetically predisposed to eating disorders.

    It is not surprising that the value society places on being thin can impact those already at risk for eating disorders. In North America, we are given the message at a very young age that in order to be happy and successful, we must be thin and fit. Every time we walk into a store we are surrounded by skinny or buff mannequins. Images of emaciated women and muscular men appear on the front covers of fashion magazines. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves trying to attain what the fashion industry considers to be the ideal figure. More than 4 out of 10 boys in middle and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass. 80% of girls have dieted by the time they get to the 4th grade. This has become a society consumed by food, weight, and dieting.

    The Media

    Clearly the media has an influence. It is natural for people to want to look like the body images they see on social media, television, movies and in magazines.

    Media Literacy

    Diet Commercials


    Why Do Eating Disorders Happen

    A childs family isnt responsible for their eating disorder. Even though the family dynamics and the parents role are very important, teens can suffer from an eating disorder in a family where the aforementioned conditions dont exist.

    Another common risk factor among young people is a lack of a positive self-esteem. Moreover, low self-esteem, especially when related to body image, may be the factor that has the most influence on the development of eating disorders.

    Since when did seeking perfection become something that brings us so much suffering?


    Disorders such as depression or bipolarity can cause teens to use food as a systematic reward or punishment, eventually causing them to develop a harmful diet. This diet is based on alternating periods of binge eating and strong restrictions.

    Dealing with eating disorders is difficult. Teenagers may lock themselves up in their rooms and stop communicating and listening to reason. However, scolding, punishing, and not understanding whats happening to them can make the situation worse. Therefore, its important to know how to act in these cases.

    Boys And Girls Experience Eating Disorders

    Eating disorders are more likely to affect females than males. However, about 25 per cent of cases in adolescents occur with males. Girls and boys can experience different social pressures about how they should look. Primary school-aged children are not immune to these pressures, and their attitudes and behaviours reflect adult concerns.Like many adult females, some girls want to lose weight and be thin. Like many adult males, some boys want to lose body fat, but increase muscle mass. Some boys try to meet unrealistically thin ideal standards.

    How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health And Emotions

    Eating disorders can cause serious problems throughout the body.

    Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by undernutrition and low body weight, such as:

    • low blood pressure
    • feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
    • constipation and bloating

    Social Or Environmental Risk Factors

    Contest Prep Binge But Why?

    Social or environmental risk factors in the development of an eating disorder may include: 

    • being teased or bullied
    • a belief that high expectations from family and others must be met
    • major life changes such as family break-up, or the accumulation of many minor stressors
    • peer pressure to behave in particular ways
    • a parent or other role model who consistently diets or who is unhappy with their body
    • media and advertising images of the ideal body size and shape as slim and fit
    • a cultural tendency to judge people by their appearance.

    Did You Choose Your Eating Disorder

    It is hard for people to understand that eating disorders are not a choice, they are not a lifestyle. Someone with an eating disorder is not trying to garner attention; they are not choosing to battle a life-altering mental health condition.

    Eating disorders are an illness that takes control over someone as they struggle with disordered beliefs about their weight and shape, lack of self-esteem, and the constant societal emphasis placed on body image. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are only some of the eating disorders affecting someones physical and mental health and lead to severe consequences. 

    What Causes Eating Disorders

    No one fully understands what gives rise to these painful and confounding illnesses. Eating disorders likely emerge from a complex relationship between genetics, personality traits, and environmental influences such as childhood experiences, social comparison, stressful or traumatic events, and cultural beauty standards. Although the roots of disordered eating will likely remain a mystery for some time, treatment can help those suffering embark on a successful recovery.

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