Counselors Who Treat Bulimia or Anorexia in Cambridge, MA
Eating disorders and Hollywood seem to go hand-in-hand as more and more celebrities are speaking up about their struggles with bulimia or anorexia. A handful of the stars who have revealed their diagnosis include Kesha, Russell Brand, Lily Collins, Shawn Johnson, Elton John, Jane Fonda, Zoe Kravitz, Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff, and Zayn Malik. Whether it is bulimia, anorexia, or another form, all eating disorders involve some kind of distorted body-perception along with an irregular eating habits. And they affect more than 30 million Americans—not just Hollywood’s elite.
Some people may see eating disorders as a finicky phase that teens experience and then move passed, but this idea minimizes a serious psychiatric disorder that needs intervention. Anorexia and bulimia are illnesses in and of themselves, but they may also lead to long-term health problems, including death. Anorexia, specifically, has the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorder.
Only about 10 percent of people who struggle with bulimia or anorexia receive the intervention they deserve, but effective treatments are available. Medical and psychological techniques can be combined and an individualized treatment plan can be formed that meets each person’s symptoms and needs. Often, receiving effective treatment begins with acknowledging the disorder and asking for help.
Thriveworks Cambridge offers therapy for anorexia and bulimia. Our counselors want anyone who is fighting anorexia or bulimia to know that they are not alone and that we are ready to tailor a treatment plan for you.
Serious Medical Concerns
As bulimia or anorexia progress, friends and family may, with the best of intentions, compliment a person on how thin and healthy they appear. While this admiration—no doubt—comes from a desire to help, it may encourage a serious medical disorder. In a culture that places so much value on being the right body size, it is easy to mistake being thin for being healthy. However, healthy and thin are different concepts, and at times, they are even contradictory. Far from making a person healthy, bulimia and anorexia both increase a person’s risk for serious medical concerns.
Anorexia raises a person’s risk for medical problems such as low blood pressure, low heart rate, low white blood cell count, abnormal heart beat, anemia, heart failure, menstrual cycle disruptions, infertility, endocrine disruptions, kidney damage, premature osteoporosis, and death.
Bulimia raises a person’s risk for medical problems such as tooth decay, kidney damage, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers, gastric rupture, electrolyte imbalance, and heart failure.
Bulimia and anorexia are serious health problems—not phases that pass. Medical and psychological interventions may be needed, and recognizing the signs and symptoms for bulimia and anorexia may lead to early and more effective treatment.
Recognizing Bulimia and Anorexia’s Symptoms
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa as distinct diagnoses within the broad category of eating disorders.
According to the DSM-5, anorexia can be recognized through the following symptoms:
- Severe feelings of hatred for one’s body size and/or weight with an inability to perceive an unhealthy, below-normal body size and weight.
- Irrational fears of gaining weight that lead to sabotaging normal weight gain and maintenance.
- Severely restricting food consumption so that a significantly lower body weight results (in relationship to a person’s sex, developmental trajectory, age, and physical health).
According to the DSM-5, bulimia can be recognized through the following symptoms:
- Attempting to impede weight gain through inappropriate, repeated, compensatory actions such as exercising in extreme or excessive ways; self-induced vomiting; fasting too long and too frequently; misusing laxatives or diuretics.
- Repeatedly binge eating that involves actions such as
- Within a specific period of time, consuming more food than most people could consume in similar circumstances and in a similar timeframe.
- An inability to self-regulate food intake during the binge.
- A self-image that is dominated with body weight and shape.
While they are distinct disorders, bulimia and anorexia have a few characteristics in common. They can develop in both men and women. They can also strike young and old, but they most frequently surface during adolescence or young adulthood. Also, anxiety disorder and/or depression often accompany anorexia and bulimia.
Help for People Fighting Anorexia or Bulimia
Mental health professionals and medical professionals have developed effective treatments for bulimia and anorexia, and the counselors at Thriveworks Cambridge are dedicated to helping each client receive the holistic care they need.
We know it takes courage to reach out and schedule therapy, so we have done what we can to support you, even before you call our office. Know that when you schedule treatment, you may be able to see your counselor the following day. A person will answer your call and help you make an appointment. Evening and weekend appointments are available, and we accept most forms of insurance.
Are you ready to reclaim regular eating habits and a healthy self-image? Thriveworks Cambridge is ready to help. Let’s get started. Call today.