EATING DISORDERS

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25 ESV

Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder include extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. They are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.

While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about more than food. These complex conditions are caused by a variety of emotional, social, and biological factors. Once started, they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and emotional destruction. All eating disorders require professional help. Early diagnosis and intervention significantly enhance recovery. If not identified or treated in their early stages, eating disorders can become chronic, debilitating, and even life-threatening conditions.

Eating disorders occur in people of all ages, races, and nationalities. One million of those with eating disorders seeking the attention of mental health professionals are male.

The eating disorders include:
Anorexia Nervosa- a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Symptoms include: refusal to maintain body weight at or about a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age and activity level; intense fear of weight gain or being “fat;” feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss; loss of menstrual periods; and extreme concern with body weight and shape.

Bulimia Nervosa- is characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food- more than most people would eat in one meal- in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse or over-exercising.

Symptoms include: repeated episodes of binging and purging; feeling out of control during a binge, and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness; purging after a binge (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercising or fasting); frequent dieting; and extreme concern with body weight and shape.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)- (also known as compulsive overeating) is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full. While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge. People who overeat compulsively may struggle with anxiety, depression and loneliness which can contribute to their unhealthy episodes of binge eating. Body weight may vary from normal to mild, moderate or severe obesity.

Other Eating Disorders can include some combination of the signs and symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and/or binge eating disorder. While these behaviors may not be clinically considered a full syndrome eating disorder, they can still be physically dangerous and emotionally draining.

All eating disorders require professional help.

For help with eating disorders or more information, call Summit Counseling or visit us on the web.