Eating disorders greatly impact society as we know it today. One in 10 women and one in 20 men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives; these numbers are expected to rise in the coming years. So it’s safe to say that it’s important to understand eating disorders, especially the most common ones. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two of the most common eating disorders plaguing individuals in the United States, and the first step to seeking treatment is understanding what you’re dealing with. So, let’s break down what you should know about anorexia and bulimia.
An extreme fear of gaining weight characterizes anorexia, focusing on eating habits that lead to losing weight and on body parts that “look” too big. These eating behaviors can eventually take over people’s lives as they resort to laxatives, self-induced vomiting, or other drugs that lead to a lowered body weight. Fortunately, with proper treatment and care, people with anorexia can gain a much clearer and more realistic view of their weight and develop healthier eating habits to help treat the disorder.
Individuals with bulimia nervosa consume large amounts of food and engage in extreme purging behaviors right after—usually in the form of vomiting or by taking laxatives. The behaviors are often done in a more private setting, but there are still many signs to pay attention to if you suspect someone you know may have bulimia. Most people with bulimia will report feeling a lack of control over their behavior. This disorder is a bit tougher to decipher as people with bulimia are often at average body weights.
Signs of Anorexia
People with anorexia exhibit plenty of signs before the development of the illness, and it’s important that you don’t dismiss any. Anorexia is a severe life-threatening illness, so be sure to contact a professional if you or someone you know has a condition that continues to worsen:
- Intense fear or objections to weight gain
- Extreme caloric restrictions
- Rapid weight loss
- Low body weight for sex, age, or height
- Unrealistic or distorted body perception
- Avoidance of specific food categories
- Fear or avoidance of eating around others
- Denying the existence of a problem
- Excessive exercise
Signs of Bulimia
One of the biggest signs of an eating disorder is extreme weight loss or gain, but unfortunately, that isn’t always present in bulimia. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other signs to pay attention to — it simply means you want to put an added emphasis if you notice any combination of the following conditions:
- Food wrappers hidden in locations around a room or private space
- Preference to eat alone
- Negative body image
- Chronic throat soreness
- Unexplained diarrhea or trips to the bathroom after eating
- Sores on knuckles or fingers
How These Disorders Are Treated
There are plenty of ways to treat each disorder, with a focus on therapy and treatment programs that give consistent care and medication that aid in the process. Anorexia is often treated with a focus on family therapy; you can contact a local treatment center to learn about child and adolescent residential treatment programs if you believe your child is suffering.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for many disorders and specific cases of anorexia and bulimia. Support groups or group therapy are also recommended, as individuals tend to benefit by discussing their condition with others experiencing the same symptoms and desires. Overall, individuals can get the help they need to overcome these eating disorders with a focus on these programs.
Treat Anorexia and Bulimia Before It’s Too Late With the Help of Toledo Center
Anorexia and bulimia are both conditions you should never take lightly. If left untreated, people with these conditions can experience life-threatening symptoms, risking their closest relationships and throwing their lives into a tailspin. A professional treatment center can set you up with a specially designed treatment option that incorporates family, friends, and effective solutions that combat the negative effects of each mental illness. If you or someone you know requires help treating bulimia or anorexia, get in touch with the professionals at Toledo Center today at 419-885-8800 or complete our contact form.