Eating disorders are illnesses that affect your everyday eating patterns. They also typically involve misperceptions about your body image, size and shape, which directly affect the amount, type and frequency of your eating. Although eating disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women, they can occur with men as well. It is important to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, so that professional treatment can be sought. It usually takes a team of professionals experienced in dealing with eating disorders to help the individual address specific problems that led to the disorder and move forward to a healthier way of life.
Types of Eating Disorders
The most common types of eating disorders include:
With anorexia nervosa, people may see themselves as overweight even when they are not. This leads to an obsession with weight and food that can result in very unhealthy eating patterns. Most people with anorexia nervosa eat very small portions of specific foods. In some cases, they may binge on large amounts of food and then get rid of it through self-induced vomiting.
People with bulimia nervosa often eat very large amounts of food, due to their inability to control their portion sizes. Eating is typically followed by feelings of guilt and shame, as well as compensation for the overeating like self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics or periods of extreme, excessive exercise.
Unlike bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, people who binge eat are often overweight or obese. This disorder is characterized by eating large amounts of food in a single sitting, followed by periods of guilt or shame. In some cases, the negative feelings can lead to additional periods of binge eating, compounding the problem.
Symptoms of an Eating Disorder
- Symptoms of an eating disorder will vary, based on the type of eating disorder diagnosed. People with anorexia nervosa often become very thin and practice
- very restricted eating habits. Other symptoms of anorexia nervosa might include:
- Brittle bones, hair and nails
- Unusually dry skin
- Low blood pressure
- Severe constipation
- Loss of menstrual periods
- Chronic fatigue or lethargy
Bulimia nervosa can be more difficult to detect, because people with this disorder often maintain a healthy weight or may even be slightly overweight. However, the signs of bulimia nervosa can be seen upon closer examination and may include:
- Swollen salivary glands and a chronic sore throat
- Sensitive, decaying teeth due to exposure to stomach acid
- Acid reflux disorder, intestinal discomfort and other gastrointestinal problems
- Electrolyte imbalance and severe dehydration
Getting Help for an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are serious illnesses that often require professional treatment to overcome. In addition, these disorders often accompany substance abuse or addiction, which may complicate treatment. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we are experienced in treating all types of addictions, including eating disorders. Our professional staff can help you address the underlying issues that led to your disorder and help you find healthier eating patterns that will lead to greater health and a higher quality of life. To get help for your eating disorder, contact West Coast Recovery Centers today at 442-333-6199.