Treating Anorexia or Bulimia in Alexandria, VA—Counseling and Therapy

The association between Hollywood and eating disorders is growing stronger as more and more celebrities are opening up about struggling with anorexia or bulimia. Lily Collins, Demi Lovato, Zayn Malik, Jane Fonda, Kesha, Elton John, Zoe Kravitz, Hillary Duff, Shawn Johnson, and Russell Brand are just a few who have spoken publicly about struggling with irregular eating habits and a distorted body image. But eating disorders are not just for celebrities. The truth is, about 30 million people in the United States have developed bulimia or anorexia.

Some people think that anorexia or bulimia is just a finicky or picky time in a person’s life, but they are really illnesses that can take a person’s life. Without treatment, anorexia and bulimia can severely harm a person’s health, and anorexia has the highest rate of death than any other psychiatric disorder.

Despite the seriousness of anorexia and bulimia, fewer than 10 percent of people receive the treatment they need for the illnesses.

But there are effective treatments for eating disorder. Medical and psychological interventions can be adapted to a person’s unique symptoms and needs. It takes courage, but most of the time, the first step in treatment is reaching out for professional help.

The counselors at Thriveworks Alexandria have helped many clients who struggle with disordered eating. We understand the medical risks of anorexia and bulimia, and we aim to provide holistic care for each client.

Health Risks

Well-meaning friends and family may compliment people who wrestle with bulimia and anorexia on how slim and healthy they seem, but these compliments can exacerbate the problem. Slim is not equal to healthy, and often, people with anorexia or bulimia face multiple health challenges because of these diseases.

Anorexia can cause low blood pressure, low heart rate, abnormal heart beat, higher risk of heart failure, endocrine disruptions, menstrual cycle disruptions, infertility, anemia, premature osteoporosis, low white blood cells, kidney damage, and even death.

Bulimia can cause gastric rupture, tooth decay, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, kidney damage, electrolyte imbalance, constipation, and heart failure.

Bulimia and Anorexia: Signs and Symptoms

There are many types of eating disorders, but bulimia and anorexia are two of the most common. Although they share many signs and symptoms, they are two distinct diagnoses.

Anorexia nervosa’s common name is simply anorexia, and according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), following characterize anorexia:

  • Inability to see the low body weight; disdain for one’s body shape or weight.
  • Intense and illogical fear of gaining weight that leads to interference with healthy weight maintenance and gain.
  • Intentionally food intake that results in a substantially lower body weight in relation to physical health, sex, developmental trajectory, and age.

Bulimia nervosa’s common name is simply bulimia, and according to the DSM-5, the following characterize bulimia:

  • A self-perception that is consumed by body weight and shape.
  • Repeating incidents of binge eating, including,
    • Eating, in a certain time period, food that is clearly more than most people could eat during the same time period and under similar circumstances.
    • Losing control over eating during the binge.
  • Repeated, inappropriate, compensatory behaviors that attempt to prevent weight gain, such as misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; self-induced vomiting; fasting; or excessive exercise.

Often, psychological challenges accompany bulimia and anorexia, for example, PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Both men and women can develop an eating disorder, and while they can surface at any point in a person’s life, they usually begin during the teen years or early adulthood.

What Causes Anorexia and Bulimia?

When a person develops an eating disorder, the cause can be unique and personal, but in general, healthcare professionals put causes into two categories: environment and biology.

Environmental causes often include childhood abuse, family trauma, peer pressure to be a certain body type, or living with unrealistic ideas of beauty.

Biological causes often include nutritional deficiencies, irregular hormone functions, and genetics.

Therapy for Anorexia and Bulimia

While reading about anorexia and bulimia, did you recognize any of the signs, symptoms, or causes in your own life? If you or someone you know exhibits these behaviors and attitudes about their weight, it may be time to reach out for help. Thriveworks Alexandria offers therapy for anorexia and bulimia, and we are ready to tailor a treatment plan that will fit your needs.

Acknowledging a problem and seeking help takes courage, and we want to provide support, even the first time you call our office. When you dial Thriveworks Alexandria, a person will answer and help schedule an appointment that is convenient for you. We offer night and weekend appointments, and many first-time clients are able to see their therapist within 24 hours. We also work with most insurance providers.

Help is available for bulimia and anorexia. Let’s work together for better health. Call Thriveworks Alexandria today.

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  • 6076 Franconia Rd, Suite D
    Alexandria , VA 22310

  • Mon-Fri:8AM-9PM
    Sat-Sun:8AM-5PM