What is an Eating Disorder? – Therapists in Charlotte, NC
Eating disorders are a complex multifaceted disease impacting the mind and body and are believed to be caused by a combination of factors including temperament, genetics and environment. Eating disorders have a real presence in the lives of those afflicted, distorting a persons’ view of themselves and others. The individual becomes imprisoned into a rigid, rules-based existence resulting in a significant decrease in social, occupational, and physical functioning. Eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any mental illness due to the way in which they impact a persons cognitive and physical functioning. Due to their complexity, it is important to seek help from professionals who are trained in the multidisciplinary approach to their treatment. If you suspect you are suffering from an eating disorder, this short questionnaire can help you determine if its time to seek help from a professional www.eat-26.com or visit a Thriveworks counselor for an assessment.
The EAT-26 has been reproduced with permission. Garner et al. (1982). The Eating Attitudes Test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates. Psychological Medicine, 12, 871-878.
Bulimia Nervosa (BN)
Individuals suffering from BN typically possess a temperament that is under controlled in relation to emotions. Their emotions tend to create a sense of overwhelm resulting in the use of binging and purging to regulate them.
- Binging involves consuming large quantities of food in a short period of time and feeling a sense of loss of control over the intake.
- Purging by self-induced vomiting or other behaviors typically follows the binging episode to prevent weight gain. Vomiting releases a chemical called Vasopressin into the body that acts as a sedative, reduces anxiety and increases mood.
- The flood of chemicals that Vasopressin releases into the brain is also addictive in nature; which is why individuals will need to purge more over time to produce the same effect.
The medical complications associated with BN are life threatening and include tears in the esophagus, heart failure, electrolyte imbalances and tooth decay among others. If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from BN it is important to seek help from an experienced professional. A Thriveworks counselor can help!
Anorexia Nervosa (AN)
Individuals suffering from AN typically possess a temperament that is over controlled in relation to their emotions. These individuals tend to exhaust themselves in the pursuit of perfectionism and expectations that are unattainable leading to emotions such as shame, sadness and anxiety. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa typically par take in:
- Rigid restriction of food intake
- Counting calories
- Exercising excessively
Fixations on weight loss become the tools used by AN to regulate these emotions. Individuals suffering from this type of eating disorder typically deny the severity of their condition and despite significant weight loss tirelessly drive themselves to lose more. The medical complications associated with AN are life threatening and include heart failure, kidney failure, loss of period and bone density among others. If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from AN it is important to seek help from an experienced professional. Thriveworks can help!
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
Individuals suffering from BED typically possess a temperament that is under controlled in relation to their emotions. Rapidly eating in a short period of time an amount of food that is in excess of average daily intake for the individual with a sense of loss of control over the intake characterizes BED. In more severe cases, individuals may experience a lapse of time and memory related to the binging episode. They typically eat in hiding and past the point of fullness resulting in feelings of disgust, shame and guilt which in turn trigger the cycle of the disorder.
The medical complications associated with BED are life threatening and include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Gall bladder disease among others.
If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from BED it is important to seek help from an experienced professional. Thriveworks can help!
Thriveworks Clinical Therapist, Heather Van Koughnett, LPC, has experience working in the hospital setting for the treatment of eating disorders as well as outpatient care. She tailors her treatment approach based on evidence-based interventions appropriate for the treatment of the specific eating disorder the individual is suffering from. She takes an empathetic, multidisciplinary and holistic approach to treatment coordinating care with primary care physicians, dietitians and treatment facilities for higher levels of care when needed. Heather spends time educating and supporting the families and loved ones involved in the individuals care on ways to support their loved ones recovery.