Hollywood and eating disorders are frequently associated as celebrities are speaking out more and more about their diagnosis. Russell Brand, Kesha, Lily Collins, Elton John, Shawn Johnson, Jane Fonda, Demi Lovato, Zoe Kravitz, Hilary Duff, and Zayn Malik are a small handful of superstars who are also battling disordered eating habits and distorted perceptions about their body’s weight and size. These stars are spotlighting a problem that plagues almost 30 million people who have anorexia or bulimia.
Some may think of eating disorders as a picky phase that teenagers go through, but this is an inaccurate and even dangerous characterization. Bulimia and anorexia are illnesses that can result in long-term harm to a person’s health, and they can even cause death. Anorexia has the highest death rates of all psychiatric disorders.
A mere 10 percent of people receive the treatment they need for these disorders, even though effective interventions are available. Psychological and medical treatments can be combined and tailored to an individual’s symptoms and needs. Usually, the first step in effectively battling these disorders is finding the courage to ask for help.
Thriveworks Cedar Park has therapists who treat anorexia and bulimia, and we aim to provide each client with holistic, individualized care.
Common Medical Problems
When bulimia or anorexia afflicts a person, well-intentioned friends and families may inadvertently reinforce the disorder through compliments on how skinny and slim the person appears. However, skinny and healthy are very different concepts, and anorexia and bulimia often increase a person’s risk for acute medical problems.
Anorexia increases a person’s risk for these medical problems: low heart rate, low blood pressure, low white blood cell count, anemia, abnormal heart beat, heart failure, infertility, menstrual cycle disruptions, endocrine disruptions, premature osteoporosis, kidney damage, and even death.
Bulimia increases a person’s risk for these medical problems: kidney damage, tooth decay, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastric rupture, ulcers, electrolyte imbalance, and heart failure.
Understanding bulimia and anorexia’s symptoms and signs is of utmost important. Early awareness may lead to early treatment and less severe medical difficulty.
Diagnostics for Bulimia and Anorexia
Of the many eating disorders that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are likely the most well know. Simply referred to as anorexia and bulimia, these eating disorders are their own diagnoses with unique characteristics.
Following diagnostics characterize anorexia, according to the DSM-5:
- Disdain for one’s body weight or shape with an inability to see the below normal body size and weight.
- Severely reduced food consumption that results in a significantly lower body weight in relationship to a person’s sex, developmental trajectory, physical health, and age.
- Deep and illogical fears of gaining weight that lead to actions that impede healthy weight gain and maintenance.
The following diagnostics characterize bulimia, according to the DSM-5:
- Repeated occurrences of binge eating, including,
- Consuming more food during a specific time period than most people could eat during a similar time period and under similar circumstances.
- Losing control over food consumption during the binge.
- Attempting to curb weight gain through repeated, inappropriate, compensatory behaviors that may include self-induced vomiting; exercising in extreme or excessive ways; misusing laxatives or diuretics; fasting too long and too frequently.
- A self-perception that is consumed with body shape and weight.
Bulimia and anorexia also have similar characteristics. Depression and anxiety disorders may accompany them, and they afflict both men and women. Bulimia and anorexia most often show symptoms during the early adolescence to early adulthood years, but people of all ages can developing them.
Bulimia and anorexia also have similar causes. The specifics of when, where, and how an eating disorder develops in an individual are usually very personal and unique. Therapists, however, speak about two general categories of foundational causes for bulimia and anorexia:
- Environmental causes are, for example, experiencing family trauma or childhood abuse, feeling peer pressure to be a certain body type, or living in an environment that promotes unrealistic ideals for beauty.
- Biological causes are, for example, a person’s predisposition because of their genetics or possibly experiencing nutritional deficiencies or irregular hormone functions that trigger the disorder.
Therapy for Anorexia or Bulimia
Effective treatments are available for anorexia and bulimia. The therapists at Thriveworks Cedar Park have helped many clients regain healthy eating habits and self-conceptions.
Scheduling therapy can feel intimidating, but we have done our best to make it easy and supportive. When you call Thriveworks Cedar Park, a person will answer and help you schedule therapy that is convenient for you. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and many clients see their therapist within 24 hours. We also work with many insurance providers.
There is help and support for bulimia and anorexia. Thriveworks Cedar Park is ready to work for your physical and mental health. Call today to get started.