Many people link Hollywood and eating disorders because more and more celebrities are speaking about their fight with anorexia or bulimia. Just to name a few, Russell Brand, Shawn Johnson, Hilary Duff, Zoe Kravitz, Lily Collins, Kesha, Zayn Malik, Elton John, Demi Lovato, and Jane Fonda have struggled against a warped self-image and compulsive eating habits.
But anorexia and bulimia do not just plague celebrities. About 30 million fight them in America today. These eating disorders occur in men and women. They usually develop during the teen or early adult years, but people of all ages can have bulimia or anorexia.
Eating disorders can be mischaracterized as a picky phase that people grow out of, but this minimizes the seriousness of bulimia and anorexia. It may also bolster a stereotype that prevents people from receiving the treatment they need. The truth is that bulimia and anorexia are psychiatric disorders that can severely harm people’s physical and psychological well-being. It is of the utmost importance that people receive the treatment they need.
Even though effective interventions are available, only about 10 percent of people find the help they need to treat their eating disorder. Nutritional, psychological, and medical treatments can be individualized to meet each client’s symptoms and needs. It takes courage to acknowledge an eating disorder and reach out for help, but if you or a loved one is struggling with body image and disordered eating, you are not alone.
Thriveworks Philadelphia offers counseling for bulimia and anorexia because we want everyone who is suffers with an eating disorder to receive the treatment they need. Our therapists and psychologists understand the medical and psychological risks that people face, and we are committed to offering holistic care.
Anorexia and Bulimia: Associated Health Risks
Friends and family members with good intentions may applaud how someone with anorexia or bulimia appears so thin and healthy. These compliments, however, can unintentionally and unfortunately encourage the disordered eating. Culturally, people often associate thinness and health, but the reality is that they are not the same. A slim body can also be a very unhealthy body. In fact, anorexia and bulimia are associated with increased risk of substantial health challenges.
Many of the health risks associated with bulimia threaten a person’s digestive system. Bulimia may cause ulcers, higher risks of gastric rupture, tooth decay, gastroesophageal reflux disease, kidney disease, electrolyte imbalance, and constipation. Bulimia may also cause heart disease.
Anorexia holds the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorders. It can damage a person’s cardiovascular system, resulting in low blood pressure, low heart rate, and increased risk of an abnormal heartbeat and heart failure. Anorexia can also lead to infertility and a disrupted menstrual cycle. Other health risks associated with it include premature osteoporosis, endocrine disruptions, premature osteoporosis, anemia, kidney damage, and even death.
Classifying Anorexia and Bulimia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has classifications for several different types of eating disorders, but bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are likely the most recognizable. While they share many similarities, they are separate diagnoses with their own classifications.
The DSM-5 classifies anorexia nervosa according to the following criteria:
- Experiencing disdain for one’s body weight and size while being incapable of perceiving one’s low body weight.
- An acute and illogical fear of gaining weight that leads to intentional efforts that hinder healthy weight gain and/or maintenance.
- Strictly limiting food intake to achieve a substantially lower body weight in relationship to normal standards that account for a person’s physical health, age, sex, and developmental trajectory.
The DSM-5 classifies bulimia nervosa according to the following criteria:
- Repeated times of binge eating, including,
- Eating, in a certain amount of time, food that is clearly more than most people could eat during the same amount of time and under similar circumstances.
- Uncontrollable food consumption during the binge.
- Responding to food consumption with repetitive, unhealthy, compensatory actions that attempt to impede weight gain, such as over-using medications like diuretic and laxatives; self-induced vomiting; fasting for too long or too often; or exercising with extreme methods.
- A self-perception that is consumed with one’s body shape and weight.
Therapists and Psychologists for Bulimia and Anorexia Help
If you recognize any of the behaviors or attitudes from the list of symptoms in your own life, it may be time to reach out for help. At Thriveworks Philadelphia, we know that making the first call takes courage, and we want to support our clients from the moment they decide to pursue treatment.
When you call our office, a person will answer and help schedule an appointment that is convenient for your schedule. We offer evening and weekend sessions, and many of our clients can see their counselor the following day. We also accept many forms of insurance.
Thriveworks Philadelphia has counseling appointments available for bulimia and anorexia. Our goal is to help each client find the medical and psychological care they need. Call today to get started.