Are You Suffering from an Eating Disorder or Just Suffering?
It is not uncommon, or even unhealthy, to want to look your best.
But worrying about something rarely helps solve a problem.
- Worried about how you look,
- Frequently on and off various diets,
- Up late at night raiding the refrigerator and then promising yourself to “be good” the next day,
- Battling a “weight problem” you’ve had your whole life and still don’t feel satisfied with your weight,
- Convinced everyone is watching you, or
- Certain all your friends are prettier, thinner, and smarter than you,
you should consider finding professional help.
You may believe you’re not “sick enough” to need professional help—that your problems just aren’t that serious. You may even wonder if you’re just “pretending” and “doing this to seek attention.” You may even find yourself enjoying parts of your obsessions—enjoying the feeling of being in control.
However, if deep down you feel that something isn’t right—no matter how you feel from time to time, how you try to rationalize your behaviors, you can’t seem to deny the feeling that something’s amiss—you do need professional help. And that help is just a phone call away.
If you think you may need help, or would just like a professional opinion, please feel free to contact me at (650) 947-4044 or by e-mail at email@example.com for more information, additional resources, or to schedule a free consultation.
Do You Really Have an Eating Disorder?
— Common Eating Disorder Symptoms
Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behaviors—following rigid diets, gorging on food in secret, throwing up after meals, or obsessively counting calories. But eating disorders are more complicated than just unhealthy dietary habits.
At their core, eating disorders involve distorted, self-critical attitudes about weight, food, and body image. It’s these negative thoughts and feelings that fuel the damaging behaviors.
People with eating disorders use food to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions. Restricting food is used to feel in control.
Overeating temporarily soothes sadness, anger, or loneliness. Purging is used to combat feelings of helplessness and self-loathing. Over time, people with eating disorders lose the ability to see themselves objectively and obsessions over food and weight come to dominate their lives.
The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.
- Anorexia — People with anorexia starve themselves out of an intense fear of becoming fat. Despite being underweight or even emaciated, they never believe they’re thin enough. In addition to restricting calories, people with anorexia may also control their weight with exercise, diet pills, or purging.
- Bulimia — Bulimia involves a destructive cycle of bingeing and purging. Following an episode of out-of-control binge eating, people with bulimia take drastic steps to purge themselves of the extra calories. In order to avoid weight gain, they vomit, exercise, fast, or take laxatives.
- Binge Eating — People with binge eating disorder compulsively overeat, rapidly consuming thousands of calories in a short period of time. Despite feelings of guilt and shame over these secret binges, they feel unable to control their behavior or stop eating even when uncomfortably full.
Just as there are other eating disorders in addition to those listed above, the eating disorders listed above are not mutually exclusive. Many people who are anorexic end up bingeing to compensate for all the restricting they’ve done in the past. Some can do one or the other—overeating when they eat and drastically restricting when dieting.
When You Feel All Alone, Who Can You Turn to for Help?
If you feel sad, alone, and worthless—if you feel like you’re falling, like you’re chasing something that keeps getting ahead of you—rest assured, you’re not alone.
Our society has seen an overwhelming increase in the prevalence of eating disorders across all socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, and genders.
Recovery can be scary and often takes a lot of work. But people with eating disorders must seek professional help if they are to overcome their illness and reclaim their lives.
Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are serious health conditions that can have severe physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences for those afflicted. The physical toll alone can put an individual’s health and life in serious jeopardy.
I know when we feel overwhelmed and alone it can be difficult to know who you can talk to, who you can trust. When you feel like everyone is watching, it is not uncommon to want to hide in a room and just cry.
Families and friends can be helpful in their own way, but some subjects can make them uncomfortable. While they may want to be helpful, it can be difficult for them to understand what you’re going through, and they may be apprehensive or afraid to face the situation.
When one person in a family changes, it forces everyone else in the family to make adjustments and change. This can be painful for everyone involved and may even cause resentment among your family members at a time when their resentment is the last thing you need.
Even if some of your friends and family are genuinely caring and supportive, their help is still no substitute for the objective, specialized assistance of a professional counselor or therapist.
Treatment must address the eating disorder symptoms, as well as the psychological, biological, interpersonal, and cultural forces that contribute or maintain the disorder. Nutritional counseling is also necessary and should incorporate education about nutritional needs and planning.
Early treatment makes recovery easier, so it’s never too early to get help. But where do you begin to look?
Effective Treatment for Eating Disorders
The most effective and long-lasting treatment for eating disorders is some form of psychotherapy or counseling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs. This care is typically provided by a licensed health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, social worker, nutritionist, and/or a primary-care physician with expertise and experience dealing with eating disorders.
Some people have lived with their eating disorders for so long they cannot develop a concept of their life or identity without an eating disorder. Psychotherapy and counseling can help you imagine what recovery can be like and assist you in deciding if recovery is truly what you want for yourself.
While some medications have been shown to be helpful, whatever treatment is offered should be tailored to your individual situation and needs. These vary according to both the severity of the disorder and your individual problems and strengths.
Seeking help takes an awful lot of courage, and finding the right therapist or other professional to work with can be tough. However keeping everything inside is not a healthy option and won’t help you feel better.
It is important for individuals struggling with an eating disorder to find a health professional they trust to help coordinate and oversee their care. An eating disorders support group, while not a substitute for psychotherapy, can help provide support and recommend therapists to work with.
Life is too short to wait until you’re the “right” weight to enjoy it!
You deserve attention, sympathy, and help regardless of your weight. Waiting for the right weight is part of the problem, not the solution.
Early diagnosis and intervention can enhance recovery. I know, because I’ve helped numerous individuals go from hopeless and rigid to balanced and hopeful.
I can help you find that place deep inside that wishes to break free from the debilitating, self-imposed rules and obsessions of your eating disorder.
You deserve a happy, healthy, and spontaneous life. With help, you can make it happen!
Please don’t hesitate to contact me for referral information or to schedule a consultation. I can be reached by phone at (650) 947-4044 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome a chance to help you create and live the life you know deep down inside is possible.
Do You Know Someone Who’s Suffering from an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are serious conditions that cause both physical and emotional damage. While people with eating disorders usually try to hide the problem, there are warning signs you can watch for.
Early treatment makes recovery easier, so talk to your friend or family member if you’re worried. You can’t force someone with an eating disorder to change their behaviors or beliefs, but you can make a difference by showing that you care, offering your support, and encouraging the person to seek professional help.
If you believe someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, it is best if they contact me on their own to schedule an appointment. However, please feel free to call me at (650) 947-4044 or e-mail me at email@example.com for more information or referral resources.
- National Eating Disorders Association — http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
- Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center — http://www.edreferral.com/
- Something Fishy: Website on Eating Disorders — http://www.something-fishy.org/
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders — http://www.anad.org/
- Online Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery Resource — http://eatingdisordersonline.com/
- Eating Disorders Anonymous — http://www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org/