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Why Do Females Have Eating Disorders

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers For Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders: Why Are Girls More Affected?

Choosing the right rehabilitation program for an eating disorder depends on several factors. Many women suffer from eating disorders combined with depression or other mental illnesses, and in order to treat the anorexia and bulimia efficiently, treatment programs must address the underlying mental illness. According to Screening for Mental Health, approximately 50 percent of individuals with eating disorders also meet the criteria for depression, and getting to the core issue of the depressive illness is essential during the eating disorder treatment process. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are an ideal choice for anyone suffering from a combined disorder, as they ensure that the patient receives the proper medication and therapy needed to treat a broad range of symptoms.

What To Expect From Psychotherapy

Since different types of people may respond better to different types of therapy, there is no one type that is most effective for treating eating disorders. The following therapies are most commonly used:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of short-term therapy that focuses on distorted thinking patterns and emotions that drive disordered eating behavior.
  • Acceptance and Commitment therapy focuses more on changing behaviors than on changing thinking and feeling patterns.
  • Cognitive remediation therapy focuses on perfectionism and other rigid thinking patterns to improve treatment of adults with anorexia.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on changing behaviors by developing new habits through mindfulness, coping skills, and emotional regulation.

Additionally, family-based treatment has been used effectively to promote healthy eating and restore normal weight in adolescents with anorexia or bulimia. FBT is a home-based program that involves all family members.

Interpersonal psychotherapy has been shown to help those with bulimia and binge eating disorder by focusing generally on improving interpersonal relationship issues and communication. Healthier interpersonal relationships and functioning within those relationships has been found to reduce symptoms of these eating disorders.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you need help, and you cannot get it from someone in your immediate support circle, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline toll-free at 1-800-931-2237.

Why Do Girls Suffer From Eating Disorders More Often Than Boys

One of the leading factors known to contribute to the development of an eating disorder is body dissatisfaction, or a negative body image. Body image is defined as ones thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes about their physical appearance.

In western culture, concern over body size and shape are all too common. Research has shown that women are more likely to possess a negative body image than men.

How do you see yourself? How do you feel about your body? Your height? Your weight? How do you feel about what you see when you look in the mirror? And more importantly, what informs those thoughts and perceptions? What sets the standards?

A positive body image is a clear, true perception of your shape, seeing the various parts of your body as they really are. Body positivity involves feeling comfortable and confident in your body, accepting your natural body shape and size, and recognizing that physical appearance says very little about your character and value as a person.

A negative body image, on the other hand, involves a distorted perception of your shape. Negative body image leads to feelings of shame, anxiety, and self-consciousness. If you feel your body is flawed in comparison to others, you are more likely to suffer feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, which research indicates contribute greatly to the development of eating disorders.

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Who Is Affected By Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect people of any age, race, gender or sexual orientation. They are often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults, but many people are first diagnosed with an eating disorder in later adulthood. Sometimes the first signs and symptoms develop at a much younger age.

I am currently 25 years old and I have had issues with my weight and my self-esteem since junior high. I was your typical, awkward preteen. Chubby, braces, glasses, acne and a sweet, yet painfully shy, personality. I was self-conscious about everything, including my weight. ~Sara

Many changes occur in our bodies during adolescence. These changes can be very difficult for some youth. Sometimes, those who are dissatisfied with their bodies will turn to disordered eating. However, there are many risk factors for eating disorders, and not everyone who is unhappy with their body will develop an eating disorder.

Most eating disorders are much more common in women and girls than in men and boys. Girls in their teens are most likely to develop an eating disorder, but boys and men are also affected. In fact, one in every four children diagnosed with anorexia nervosa is a boy. Bulimia nervosa is diagnosed more often in females, but similar numbers of males and females are diagnosed with binge-eating disorder. Males also have some specific risk factors, including:

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Why are Eating Disorders More Common in Females? Your ...
  • Lack of interest or other avoidance of food due to the sensory characteristics of food, such as colors and textures. Avoidance is associated with at least one of the following:
  • Significant weight loss or, in children, failure to reach expected weight and height
  • Significant nutrient deficiency
  • Dependence on nutritional supplements or oral feeding tube
  • Disruption of psycho-social functioning
    • The condition cannot be explained away by the unavailability of foods or culturally approved eating practices.
    • There are no issues with body weight or body image and avoidance is not associated with anorexia or bulimia.
    • There is no other eating disturbance or medical condition present that would explain the avoidance, or the avoidance is more extreme than would normally be associated with another condition.

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    Symptoms Of Eating Disorders

    The symptoms of eating disorders vary with the type. Spotting eating disorders may not be easy as it could be assumed as dieting. Also, a person with an eating disorder could be hesitant to share their eating troubles. However, some general symptoms that such individuals may exhibit are:

    • Frequent trips to the bathroom after eating
    • Throwing away food or hiding it
    • Eating alone or secretly
    • Chewing food longer than usual.

    Some symptoms of eating disorders based on their type include:

    The Different Causes Of Eating Disorders

    Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    When a person gets sick, it’s natural to want to understand why. With eating disorders, which are associated with many myths and negative stereotypes, the question of causation can be especially confusing.

    The culture at large commonly blames eating disorders on oversimplified explanations, such as the medias promotion of unrealistically slender models or on bad parenting. Even some health professionals buy into these explanations.

    But research shows that familieslongtime scapegoatsdo not cause eating disorders, at least not in any simple, straightforward manner.

    While growing up in a dysfunctional home could increase the risk for a number of psychological problems, including eating disorders, it does not condemn a child to an eating disorder or any other psychological disorder.

    Scientists cant say for sure what exactly causes an eating disorder or predict who will develop an eating disorder. In general, most experts agree that eating disorders are complicated illnesses that stem not from a single cause but from a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. There are many different pathways to the development of an eating disorder from binge eating disorder to anorexia nervosa to bulimia nervosa.

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    So What Causes An Eating Disorder

    • The shame of having an eating problem
    • The eating disorder is useful- this is a big issue for most people with an active eating problem. Purging can become a way to manage moods or to get through the day.
    • Perhaps I dont deserve to get help / I should be able to crack this on my own.
    • I am not ill enough or, there are people much more worse off than me.

    Eating Disorders: Why Are Girls More Affected

    Why are so many women who suffer from eating disorders overlooked? | GMA

    It’s more than just a cultural phenomenon

    Douglas Bunnell, PhD, 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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    Getting To The Root Rather Than Only Treating The Symptoms

    At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists understand that effective treatment for eating disorders requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each client his or her greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.

    Addressing unhealthy and distorted body image perceptions, developing the tools you need to re-program unhealthy thinking and stop unhealthy practices, and gaining an understanding of the role proper nutrition plays in your recovery, are all important components to your treatment.

    Proper and thorough treatment offers you the best chance for complete recovery. We can help.

    Dont let your struggles define you. Let Honey Lake Clinic help you regain control of your life and discover lasting transformation. Renewal can start today with a simple phone call.


    Risk Factors Of Body Image Struggles

    There are several external factors that can increase someones risk of developing a negative body image. Family, friends, acquaintances, media, and most prominently now, social media, can have an impact on how we perceive and feel about our body. Additionally, people in environments that are focused on appearance or those who receive negative feedback about their appearance are also at an increased risk. And, as we mentioned, people with body image struggles may also struggle with food.

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    Early Intervention Is Essential

    If you are struggling with an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, or, like many women, are dealing with co-occurring eating disorders and depression, seeking help as soon as problematic symptoms arise is essential to a full recovery. For example, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, women who seek help for bulimia within 5 years of the appearance of symptoms have an 80 percent chance of recovery, but if symptoms exist for more than 15 years without treatment, the chances of recovery fall to just 20 percent.

    Professional anorexia and bulimia treatment programs are specifically designed to help those struggling with eating disorders. These programs teach women how to view their bodies in a positive light, deal with past control issues, and create new and healthy relationships with food.

    How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health And Emotions

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    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

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    Strengths And Limitations Of This Study

    • The study utilised well-developed and rigorous qualitative data collection and analysis methods.

    • We succeeded in recruiting men with eating disorders, a hard-to-reach and under-researched group, who were prepared to talk openly about their experiences.

    • Because these young men’s experiences were collected as part of a study that recruited and interviewed both young men and young women using the same methodology, we are able to identify what is specific to young men’s accounts of having an eating disorder.

    • The study is limited to young people and does not contribute to understanding the experiences of older people with eating disorders.

    Why Are Eating Disorders More Commonly Seen In Women

    Some studies indicate that women tend to be more influenced by negative perceptions of physical appearance, as well as their susceptibility to social pressures. Objectification and sexualisation of women and gender stereotypes are also lead to the development of mental health disorders in women, including eating disorders. Though limited research has been done on this, studies have also indicated that other than cultural differences, other factors could also contribute to the development of eating disorders in women. One such study published in Oxfords journal Cerebral Cortex included 32 healthy participants with no history of eating disorders.

    The experiment:The participants were made to wear a virtual reality headset that gave them an illusion of their body getting slim or obese. During the study, the participants brain was getting monitored using magnetic resonance imaging .

    Results of the study: The results indicated that when the female participants were showed their obese self, there was more activity in two different parts of their brain, the parietal lobe and the anterior cingulate cortex , as compared to their male counterparts.

    The scientists concluded that brain activity could be the reason for dissatisfaction with a particular body type in women. However, larger-scale studies are required to further understand the role of DNA and brain activity in the development of eating disorders in women.

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    Eating Disorders Are Serious Mental Health Conditions Four Eating Disorders Are Currently Recognized In The Dsm And Although They Can Affect Anyone They Are Most Common In Females

    Article by:

    Celebrities like Camila Mendes, Kesha, Gabourey Sidibe, and many others have spoken out about their struggles with body image and eating way too much or way too little food which, in many cases, led to long periods of treatment and recovery. Truth is, eating disorders are serious mental health conditions and, although they can affect anyone, they are most common in girls and women. Psycom spoke with eating disorder specialist Jennifer Rollins, MSW, LCSW-C, founder of The Eating Disorder Center in Rockville, Maryland, about identifying, treating, and recovering from disordered eating.

    Approximately 20 million American women will have developed at least one type of eating disorder at some point in their lives, and perhaps more than one. The four specific types of eating disorders are recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that can affect young girls and older women include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder .

    Why Are Women More Vulnerable To Eating Disorders Brain Study Sheds Light

    Older women can have eating disorders, too

    Eating disorders are much more common among women than men. Now, a new study may have uncovered a neurological explanation for this disparity. Researchers find that women are more likely than men to experience brain activity relating to negative body perception.

    Lead author Dr. Catherine Preston, of the Department of Psychology at York University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues publish their findings in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

    According to the National Eating Disorders Association , around 30 million people in the United States have some form of eating disorder, and around 20 million of these are women.

    Popular notion has long held that women are more concerned with body image than men, and previous studies have shown that women are more likely than men to have body dissatisfaction.

    Thus, this susceptibility to body dissatisfaction may be an important factor underlying the higher rates of eating disorders in women, say the authors.

    When it comes to negative perceptions of physical appearance, social pressures are believed to play a key role. Since women tend to be more susceptible to such pressures, this may explain in part why eating disorders affect women more than men.

    However, previous studies have shown that in some eating disorders, particularly anorexia, patients overestimate their body size that is, they perceive themselves to be larger in size than they actually are.

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    Signs Of Anorexia Nervosa

    People with anorexia nervosa have an extreme fear of gaining weight. They often diet and exercise relentlessly, sometimes to the point of starvation. About one-third to one-half of anorexics also binge and purge by vomiting or misusing laxatives. People with anorexia have a distorted body image, thinking they are overweight when in fact they are underweight. They may count calories obsessively and only allow themselves tiny portions of certain specific foods. When confronted, someone with anorexia will often deny that thereâs a problem.

    The signs of anorexia can be subtle at first, because it develops gradually. It may begin as an interest in dieting before an event like a school dance or a beach vacation. But as the disorder takes hold, preoccupation with weight intensifies. It creates a vicious cycle: The more weight the person loses, the more that person worries and obsesses about weight.

    The following symptoms and behaviors are common in people with anorexia:

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