An eating disorder is a serious condition that disrupts an individual’s regular eating habits. It is characterized by eating too much or too little, accompanied by excessive concerns about
one’s weight and body image. It often stems from or co-occurs with depression, anxiety disorders, or substance abuse.
Contrary to popular opinion, eating disorders occur in individuals of all ages and both genders. There are millions of people in the United States with eating disorders and 90% are young adult women. Just 1% of teen girls suffer from anorexia nervosa, while 2-3% of teen girls have bulimia nervosa.
For individuals dealing with eating disorders in Rexburg, Idaho, the Integrated Counseling and Wellness team is here to help you understand the problem and your treatment options.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by intentionally starving yourself due to the overwhelming belief that you are overweight, despite all signs pointing to the contrary. Sufferers typically develop an obsession with losing weight, creating their own food restrictions and strenuous exercise routines.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by the consumption of excessive amounts of food followed by cleansing the body. This is done via induced vomiting, diuretic or laxative abuse, as well as compulsive exercise. Studies show that 50% of anorexia sufferers will eventually develop bulimia. Other eating disorders may include some characteristics of anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia nervosa, but not all.
Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
Common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
Common complaints associated with an eating disorder include: stomach distress, diarrhea, constipation, headaches/migraines, thinning hair/hair loss, dry skin and lightheadedness.
The first step to recovering from an eating disorder is admitting to yourself that you indeed have a problem. Despite clinging to the belief that controlling food is the answer to all of life’s problems, you might be starting to realize that this belief is negatively affecting your health.
It is also important to remember that recovering from an eating disorder is not a one-person task. No matter how embarrassing it may be to voice your concerns to another person, reaching out to someone you trust – such as a family member, close friend, and a professional – is a critical step toward recovery. Common steps for treating an eating disorder are:
-Assemble a treatment team to address every aspect of the problem.
-Address any health problems caused by binge eating or excessive dieting.
-Develop a long-term treatment plan, which may include talk therapy, nutritional counseling, nutritional interventions, medications and more.
-Establish self-help strategies to ensure that you understand the cause of the eating disorder and learn healthier coping skills.
-Be open-minded about every emotion you experience.
-Experience your emotions without fear or the need for control.
-Let yourself open up to the people you trust most.
-Allow interaction with others rather than food to comfort you.
-Avoid or control your emotions because they scare you.
-Worry that your emotions will make you fall apart.
-Allow others to shame you for expressing your feelings.
-Use food as a coping mechanism for negative emotions.
The first thing to remember about effectively treating an eating disorder is that you must be ready for a potential relapse. Relapse is a natural part of the recovery process, which is why you must know the common eating disorder relapse signs to ensure that you are able to seek help in a timely manner. These signs include:
If you wish to avoid relapse at the outset, there are a few precautionary steps that you can take:
When dealing with an eating disorder, remember that you are not alone: There are support groups near you. Find more information: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or speak with your therapist from Integrated Counseling and Wellness about finding the right support group for you. If you, a friend or a loved one suffer from an eating disorder in Rexburg or the surrounding areas, please call or email us today. We want to help you.
Call today for a free 15 minute consultation with a counselor- 208 357 3104. We welcome patients from Rexburg, Ammon and Idaho Falls.