Lancaster Eating Disorder Counseling

Bulimia and Anorexia in Lancaster, PA—Counseling and Therapy for Eating Disorders

Russell Brand, Whitney Cummings, Gabourey Sidibe, Zayn Malik, Candace Cameron Bure, Demi Lovato, Portia De Rossi, Jane Fonda, Zosia Mamet, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Kesha and the list could go on and on of stars who have opened up about their battle with an eating disorder. These celebrities may have a public following, but anyone who struggles with bulimia, anorexia, or another eating disorder is fighting a very personal, often private battle. Almost 30 million people have an eating disorder that has introduced a contentious relationship between themselves and their bodies.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

Eating disorders are serious and severe mental illnesses that may lead to a host of health problem and possibly even death. Anorexia holds the highest rate of death among all psychiatric disorders. Although many treatment options are available, only approximately 10 percent of people with an eating disorder find treatment. Medical and psychological interventions, however, can be individualized to meet people’s diagnosis and needs. Often, the first step toward healing is recognizing the problem and asking for help.

The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Lancaster know that eating disorders bring physical and mental health risks. We work hard to provide our clients with holistic care—for their mind and body.

Recognizing Eating Disorders

Although there are a variety of eating disorders that can affect people, the most well-known may be anorexia and bulimia. These have particular signs and symptoms that allow medical and mental health professionals to recognize them.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives characteristics of anorexia nervosa:

  • An illogical and intense fear of being fat or gaining weight that leads to actions that hinder normal weight gain and maintenance.
  • Feeling contempt for one’s body and experiencing a distorted body-image (in particular, the inability to perceive one’s low body weight).
  • Restricting one’s eating habits so that a substantially lower body weight is maintained (as compared to what would be average for one’s development, age, physical health, and sex).

The DSM-5 gives characteristics for bulimia nervosa:

  • Recurrent instances of binge eating, as defined by the following…
    • Losing control of the food and drink one consumes.
    • Consuming more food or drink during a specific time period than other people could or would in a similar situation.
  • Trying to stop any weight gain through unhealthy means such as misusing diuretics and laxatives, fasting frequently, self-induced vomiting, and excessive exercising.
  • When body shape and weight dominate one’s self-image while other qualities (such as intellect and skills) are minimized.

Eating Disorders’ Root Causes

When and why eating disorders develop are often varied and even deeply personal. No two stories are the same, and yet, like other illnesses, there are recognizable patterns. In general, mental health professionals give two types of causes for eating disorders:

  1. Biological Causes: Certain people have a genetic predisposition for eating disorders. For example, they may have irregular hormone functions that affect their appetite and weight management. Certain nutritional deficiencies may also contribute to an eating disorder’s development.
  2. Environmental Causes: Certain experiences or cultural attitudes raise people’s risk for developing an eating disorder. Growing up in an environment that valued a certain body type or that pressured people to look a certain way could be a contributing factor to an eating disorder’s development. Similarly, family stress or childhood trauma are often risk factors for eating disorders.

Health Risks and Eating Disorders

In a culture obsessed with “skinny,” it can be easy to confuse healthy and thin. But being a certain body type and being in good health are different concepts. In fact, while bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders may lower an individual’s body weight, they often raise their risk of other health difficulties.

In particular, low heart rate, kidney damage, low blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, risk of heart failure and disease, disruptions in menstrual cycle, infertility, disruptions in the endocrine system, low white blood cell counts, premature osteoporosis, anemia, and premature death are possible complications that anorexia can cause.

Ulcers, tooth decay, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastric rupture, kidney damage, constipation, electrolyte imbalance, and heart failure are potential complications that bulimia can cause.

Treatment for Eating Disorders—Scheduling an Appointment with Thriveworks Lancaster

As you read through the symptoms and diagnostics for anorexia or bulimia, did you recognizing anything from your own life? Are you concerned that your eating habits, appetite, and body-image may not be healthy? If you or someone in your life is showing signs of an eating disorder, seeking help may be the next step toward healing, and holistic treatments are available. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Lancaster individualize treatment plans for each client that addresses both physical and psychological needs.

It can be difficult to acknowledge that you or someone you love struggles with an eating disorder. Seeking help often takes courage, but you are not alone. Thriveworks Lancaster understands how hard it can be to make the call for treatment. We have done our best to make that process as easy as possible. Here are a few things you can expect when you dial our number:

  1. A scheduling specialist (not a voicemail!) will answer and help you find an appointment.
  2. Weekend and evening sessions are available.
  3. New clients may have their first appointment within 24 hours of their call.
  4. We accept many forms of insurance.

Let’s work together. Contact Thriveworks Lancaster today.

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