Anorexia and Bulimia in Atlanta, GA—Treatment for Eating Disorders
When Nancy Kerrigan took the ice, most people saw a graceful athlete. She was America’s figure skating champion who overcame an assault to win a silver medal at the 1994 Olympics. What Americans did not see was that while Nancy was competing, she was also fighting an eating disorder. Recently, she spoke out about her struggle, and she has now producing a documentary called, Why Don’t You Lose Five Pounds? that looks at athletes who have an eating disorder. “There is a lot of shame in eating disorders so that people do not want to admit they have a problem, but in reality, it is killing them inside,” explained one athlete in the documentary. Eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia affect more than just elite athletes. Here is a picture of what eating disorders can look like:
- In the United States, approximately 30 million people have an eating disorder.
- They affect both men and women of all ages, races, and ethnicities.
- Eating disorders claim the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.
- Sixteen percent of transgender college students are fighting an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders come in many forms: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, and diabulimia are a few examples.
Eating disorders are not picky phases of eating. They are serious mental illnesses that can have devastating effects on an individual’s life and health. They are also mental illnesses that have treatments, but as few as 10 percent of those who have an eating disorder receive the help they need. That is why Thriveworks Atlanta offers therapy for eating disorders. We have worked with many clients, helping them fight the eating disorder and find the holistic recovery they deserve.
Signs and Symptoms
All eating disorders are defined by intense worry about one’s body size and weight accompanied with abnormal eating practices. Sometimes, the eating disorder involves too much food intake. Sometimes, it involves too little food intake. Sometimes, it involves a swing between the two. Other psychological disorders, such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression, often accompany eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two of the most well-known types of eating disorders. Their symptoms are outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and give a deeper picture of what it is like to live with an eating disorder.
According to the DSM-5, anorexia is characterized by…
- Hatred for one’s own body shape or weight.
- The inability to perceive one’s body shape and weight accurately.
- Illogical and severe horror at the thought of gaining weight.
- Interference with healthy weight maintenance or gain.
- Purposefully restricting energy intake to achieve a substantially lower body weight (as compared to normal standards for one’s sex, developmental trajectory, age, and physical health).
According to the DSM-5, bulimia is characterized by…
- Recurring incidents of binge eating, as defined by:
- In a period of time, eating more food than most people could eat during the same time and under similar circumstances.
- Lost control over eating during the binge.
- Repeated attempts to prevent weight gain in an attempt to compensate for the binge. Examples include misusing laxative or diuretics, forcing oneself to vomit, fasting excessively, exercising excessively.
- A self-image that downplays intellect, personality, and other traits and emphasizes body shape and weight.
Causes and Effects of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders have many different causes. When and how they develop is often a very unique and personal experience. The causes of eating disorders could never be listed in full, but mental health professionals generally recognize at least two types of causes: biological and environmental.
- Environmental causes include factors such as a culture fixated upon thinness, certain body types, and particular ideals of beauty; childhood or family trauma; and peer pressure.
- Biological causes may include irregular hormone functions, nutritional deficiencies, and genetics.
“Paradoxically, the thing that they think is going to help them is actually the thing that is going to end them.” —Erin Savas, Eating Disorder Therapist
All eating disorders come with a host of negative health effects. They are the deadliest psychiatric disorder. Anorexia can cause low heart rate, abnormal heart beat, low blood pressure, risk of heart failure and disease, infertility, disruptions in the endocrine system, disruptions in menstrual cycle, anemia, kidney damage, premature osteoporosis, low white blood cell counts, and ultimately death.
Bulimia may cause tooth decay, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, electrolyte imbalance, kidney damage, gastric rupture, constipation, and heart failure.
Treatment for Eating Disorders and Appointments at Thriveworks Atlanta
Reading through the symptoms, causes, and effects of eating disorders, did anything stand out to you? Is there someone in your life who may be fighting an eating disorder? Know that you are not alone. Many others are struggling. Many others are finding the treatment options they need. Help is available. The Therapists at Thriveworks Atlanta understand how eating disorders function and the many options people have for treatment. We are committed to providing holistic care for our clients.
When you contact our office, know that a scheduling specialist will answer your call. You may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments, but we do not put our clients on a waitlist. We also accept many different forms of insurance and work with many different insurance companies. Call Thriveworks Atlanta today for an appointment.