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Why Do People Develop Eating Disorders

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How To Treat Eating Disorders

Due to the insidious ways in which eating disorders pervade all aspects of ones body, mind, and life, receiving the appropriate treatment is important. There are various levels of care designed to treat specific stages of eating disorder severitythese range from inpatient at a medical facility down to outpatient. Any eating disorder treatment center can assess a struggling individual to determine the appropriate level of care.

Outside of receiving treatment in general, it is also important to ensure the facility uses evidence-based practices, as these can lead to better long-term outcomes.

There are many evidence-based treatments that can support eating disorder recovery; the most well-known and most commonly used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Dialectical Behavior Therapy , and Family-Based Treatment .

Do not be afraid to ask any questions that arise if you or a loved one are searching for the treatment that will best support recovery.

Eating Disorders Can Be Treated

No matter what the cause, eating disorders aretreatable particularly when care isprovided by an experienced, specially-trainedteam. If you orsomeone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, please call us at 877-825-8584 for a free, confidential assessment with a Masters-level clinician.

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval have met or exceeded The Joint Commissions rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation .

A Disconnection From The Body

Ultimate health is achieved when the mind, body, and soul are connected. While this may sound too holistic for your taste, take a minute to think about what it means. When integrated, the body and the mind can alert the soul, the essence of who you are, to anything that does not feel right.

This process happens naturally. The body alerts you to when it is hungry, tired, and in pain. If you touch a hot stove, the body sends a signal to the brain: That hurts! Dont do that!, so you do not touch the hot stove again.

When you can listen to the signals the body sends, you can respond accordingly. When you are not in touch, you cannot respond because you are not properly receiving the signals. An eating disorder can develop as the result of faulty internal communication. Wanting control of something coming from the mind, for example, may take the place of the hungry signal coming from the body.

Last medically reviewed on December 18, 2013

What Can You Do

Even though eating disorders are very serious and not to be taken lightly, they are very treatable. If you or a loved one is battling an eating disorder, seeking treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Fairwinds is the leading treatment center in Florida for eating disorders. Our compassionate team treats each patient like family in a warm and welcoming atmosphere to help you get to the root of the problem and heal the body as a whole; physically, emotionally, and mentally.Contact us todayfor more information on our treatment programs for eating disorders.

How Are Eating Disorders And Social Anxiety Disorder Related

Why Do People Develop Eating Disorders?

The link between social anxiety and eating disorders makes sense intuitively; anxiety about how ones self appears to others can lead to an excessive preoccupation with body weight and shape.

A recent study indicated that maladaptive was a shared risk factor for both social anxiety and eating disorder symptoms.

It also showed that social appearance anxiety, the fear of ones appearance being evaluated, specifically predicted eating disorder symptoms including binge eating.

Some of the symptoms of the disorders can be similar. People with eating disorders can have anxiety about eating in front of others. They may fear and avoid eating in social situations and worry about others judging them for what and how they eat. Their body image concerns may also become magnified in social situations. For example, they may fear their body size or shape being judged by others and may avoid certain settings or behave in ways to avoid drawing attention.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

If you have an eating disorder, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What type of eating disorder do I have?
  • What is the best treatment for the eating disorder I have?
  • What are the treatment risks and side effects?
  • What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Eating disorders are a serious problem that can affect your mental and physical health. If you think you have an eating disorder, dont be embarrassed about seeking help. Millions of Americans struggle every day with an eating disorder. With proper medical care and mental health counseling, you can get better. Years of living with an untreated eating disorder can harm your physical health and may lead to life-threatening problems. Take the first step to protecting your well-being by talking to your healthcare provider.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/07/2020.


Helpful Activities When Dealing With An Eating Disorder

What other activities can someone engage in to help ease their struggles with an eating disorder? What can family members do for someone they love who is struggling with an eating disorder? I worked in an eating disorder clinic for almost a year, while also treating clients in my private practice. Moreover, eating disorders run in my own family, and at one point I struggled with anorexia for quite a few years. So I completely understand the struggles behind this very difficult disorder. Here are some things that I saw in the clinic where I worked and I can recommend as helpful based on my own personal knowledge:

1)  Individual counseling to work through eating issues, body image issues, family issues, and what life was like before the eating disorder took over.

2)  Prayer, yoga, meditation whatever works for you and brings peace of mind.

3)  Healthy amounts of exercise, which typically consist of three days a week, 30 minutes at a time. Any more than this amount can become obsessive for those struggling with eating issues.

4)  Structured meal times with helping professionals in order to learn how to eat in a healthy, balanced way.

5)  Appointments with a dietician to learn about food, including what is good for you, what your body needs, how much to eat, and from what food groups.

7)  Reading, journaling, art projects, listening to music, and creating something that you are proud of.

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 by calling their adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

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.

Who Is At Risk For Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life .

Remember: People with eating disorders may appear healthy, yet be extremely ill.

The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors can raise a persons risk.

When Should I Call The Doctor

You should call your healthcare provider if you have an eating disorder and you:

  • Find that your relationship to food is causing you distress.
  • Find that your relationship to food is getting in the way of your everyday activities.
  • Have a severe sore throat or acid reflux.
  • Have slurred speech or blurred vision.

Do Parents Cause Eating Disorders

Parents should not blame themselves for the development of a childs eating disorder. While researchers do not yet know why some people develop eating disorders, we do know that such disorders have a strong biological component, and that social and environmental factors contribute to the picture.

What is in a parents control is the ability to model healthy eating behavior and a healthy mindset about body image. . In the case that a disorder does emerge, parents play a pivotal role in their childs treatment and recovery.

So What Causes An Eating Disorder

Why do People Develop Eating Disorders?

  • 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.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder

People who suffer from binge eating disorder struggle to control their eating habits. A person with binge eating disorder struggles to maintain a healthy schedule of eating. They often will eat too much and too often. They will also crave unhealthy foods that they know are bad for them.

People with binge eating disorder tend to use food to cope with stress. They use eating as an unhealthy coping mechanism when feeling upset or overwhelmed. They may overeat or eat until uncomfortably full. A person with binge eating disorder often struggles with feeling out of control, and is ashamed of their binge eating habit.

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 andcounselling 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 wehelp people to thrive, not just survive.

Prayer And Bible Reading For Those With Eating Disorders

Another very important and beneficial activity for getting well is time spent in prayer and Bible reading. This can often change our mood, help us to feel less alone, and let us know that God is always with us in times of trouble. Even when we cant feel his presence or think that he has left us, he is always present with us right where we are. God sees you as beautiful, even if you feel like a beautiful mess. He still loves you, no matter what you are struggling with. We are human and it can, therefore, be easy to drift away from God or to forget how much he loves us, especially in a world that can be so damaging to the human spirit.

Here are some scripture verses that are specific to eating disorders and recovery. I hope that you find encouragement and peace of mind and that you discover that you are not alone.

My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you. Song of Solomon 4:7

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Proverbs 31:30

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

Dont you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You dont belong to yourselves. You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The Different Causes Of Eating Disorders

Steven Gans, MD

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 longtime 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.

Early Warning Signs Of Eating Disorders

Adolescents can become fussy about particular foods or lose weight for lots of reasons. It is important to get any concerns checked by a health professional.Some signs that a young person might have an eating disorder and that should be investigated further include:

  • rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • changes in shape

New Insights On Eating Disorders

Scientists are uncovering the faulty neurobiology behind anorexia and bulimia, debunking the myth that such eating disorders are solely driven by culture and environment.

April 2016, Vol 47, No. 4

Print version: page 36

Monitor on Psychology47

Public misunderstanding of mental health disorders is nothing new. But for eating disorders in particular, misinformation abounds.

“You still read more about anorexia in the celebrity section of publications than in health sections,” says Nancy Zucker, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “The emphasis is on it being a culturally guided phenomenon.”

Even medical definitions of eating disorders have often focused on external factors, including cultural pressures, parents’ attitudes toward weight and diet, and stressful or traumatic events that might trigger disordered eating habits.

While the environment certainly plays a part in shaping the behaviors, evidence is mounting that eating disorders begin in the brain.

“Lots of people diet or want to lose weight, but relatively few of them end up with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa,” says Walter Kaye, MD, director of the Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

In fact, fewer than 1 percent of women develop anorexia, the more severe of those two diseases. “Culture plays some role but maybe less so than we thought in the past,” Kaye says.

Being Involved In Physical Sports

Its not uncommon for people to enjoy competitive sports. Whether its running, dancing or gymnastics doesnt matter. The pressure that comes along with needing to be great can often be daunting.

Some people will starve themselves to perform better. They feel that an extra ten pounds off their frame will improve their game. It can especially be a problem if there are others with the perfect body who seem to excel at their sport.

This poor self-image must be dealt with as it can ruin this and many other aspects of a persons life.

Dieting Increases The Risk Of Developing Eating Disorders

Why Do People Develop Eating Disorders? My Experience and ...

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.

What Are Some Examples Of Nimh Research

Eating disorders tend to run in families, so one example of NIMH-supported research involves the study of human genetics. Researchers are working to identify DNA variations that are linked to an increased risk of developing eating disorders. This research may help develop strategies for early detection.

Brain imaging studies are also providing a better understanding of eating disorders. For example, researchers have found differences in patterns of brain neurocircuitry and activity in people with eating disorders in comparison with healthy people. This research may lead to new or improved ways to diagnose and treat eating disorders.

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.

How Do I Support My Child In Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder is a continuous process, with twists and turns along the way. Parents should recognize that in addition to moving forward, children will probably also contend with setbacks or relapses.

Parents can encourage their child to stick to the treatment plan or meal schedule and continue developing coping skills. They can also remind the child of their larger life goals, such as returning to school if they took time off.

Supporting a child through an eating disorder takes time and energy, as its not an isolated incident but a continuous process. Therefore its important to set aside time to care of yourself, by finding ways to release stress and relate your own emotions to a loved one or a therapist. Maintaining central pillars of your own life is important, both for yourself and so that you can be there for your child.

Family Genetics And Upbringing

Binge eating disorder seems to run in families. People who have family members who binge eat are at increased risk of binge eating themselves. This trend may be due to different reasons, including:

  • Upbringing. Eating habits are learned. If a person learns poor eating habits as a child, they will develop poor habits as an adult. People who grew up with binge eating family members may learn to treat food like a reward. They may also learn to treat food as a way to ease emotional pain.
  • Genetics. suggests that many people who have family members who also struggle with healthy food habits. These family members may binge eat as well, causing them to be overweight or obese. They may also suffer from other eating disorders, or have a history of addiction.

Parenting A Child With An Eating Disorder

Coming to the realization that your child has an eating disorder can be upsetting and overwhelming. But parents have the power to help their child begin to healeven if the child isnt completely ready yet. Learning the facts, discussing their experience, and encouraging them to seek treatment can put a child on the path to recovery.

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Mental Health Issues And Trauma

A person who suffers from , , or other mood disorders may use food to cope with their emotions. This behavior is often referred to as emotional eating. The taste of tasty food temporarily relieves the feeling of stress and a depressed mood. This is because the brains reward-system is being engaged, which provides a temporary sense of relief or comfort.

Those who have suffered from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are also at risk for binge eating. A person who has been through abuse or trauma may turn to binge eating for several reasons, including:

  • Seeking a sense of control
  • Using food to escape from reality
  • Easing emotional pain and suffering
  • Punishing themselves for being undeserving of love or respect.
  • Making themselves look undesirable to others

Psychology Explains 10 Reasons People Get An Eating Disorder

Power of Positivity

Eating disorders werent always so publicized. However, that all changed on February 4, 1983. Famous singer Karen Carpenter died of heart complications following a lengthy battle with the eating disorder anorexia.

Her story was a turning point in the recognition and treatment of such disorders. Her life was spiraling out of control due to a demanding career and undue stress that she couldnt control. She felt pressures from society to look and be perfect, and the strain of the disease eventually took her life.

When it comes to eating disorders, its hard to pinpoint exactly why they happen. For some, its a biological issue, others a psychological problem, and then there are social factors that come into play. What the medical community knows is that you cant catch an eating disorder like the flu or a cold.

Instead, its a conscious choice at first that soon spirals out of control. To treat an eating disorder, you must get to the root cause, and address those underlying issues. Here are the top ten reasons why a person develops bulimia, anorexia, or obesity.

Risk Factors For Eating Disorders

Why do People Develop 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.

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.

What Causes Eating Disorders

There’s no single cause for eating disorders. Genes, environment, and stressful events all play a role. Some things can increase a person’s chance of having an eating disorder, such as:

  • poor body image
  • too much focus on weight or looks
  • dieting at a young age
  • playing sports that focus on weight
  • having a family member with an eating disorder
  • mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or OCD

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