Hollywood and eating disorders are a common association. Demi Lovato, Zayn Malik, Lily Collins, Elton John, Kesha, Jane Fonda, Zoe Kravitz, Russell Brand, Shawn Johnson, and Hillary Duff are only a few of the stars who have shared about their struggle against anorexia or bulimia. But eating disorders plague far more people than celebrities. It is estimated that over 30 million people have either anorexia or bulimia.
It may be tempting to think of eating disorders as a picky phase or a problem for the rich and famous, but the reality is that many people have abnormal eating habits with distorted feelings and thoughts about their body size. Acknowledging the seriousness of the problem is an important step because anorexia and bulimia are both associated with severe health problems, and anorexia has the highest rate of death of any psychiatric disorder.
Even though effective treatments are available for anorexia and bulimia, only about 10 percent of people receive the treatment they deserve. Nutritional, medical, and psychological treatment plans can be individualized to each person’s needs and symptoms. However, the first step is recognizing the problem and reaching out for help.
Do you or does someone in your life fight against bulimia or anorexia? Would you like some professional support and guidance for the struggle? Thriveworks Reston in Fairfax, VA offers therapy and counseling for bulimia and anorexia, and we want everyone who struggles with an eating disorder to receive the professional care they need.
Symptoms and Signs of Anorexia and Bulimia
The most well-known and widespread eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, most commonly known simply as anorexia and bulimia.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives the following criteria for anorexia:
- Experiencing terror at the thought of gaining gain or being fat.
- Reducing food intake to less than the body needs (as based upon age, weight, physical health, sex, and developmental trajectory) resulting in a substantially low body weight.
- Disturbed self-image so that body shape and weight are experienced as larger and heavier than reality.
The DSM-5 gives the following criteria for bulimia:
- Repeatedly binge eating, including…
- Eating food, during a time period, that is substantially more than most people would eat during a similar period of time.
- Losing control over eating during binges.
- In response to binges, unhealthy, repeated actions that try to prevent weight gain, for example, using laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; inducing vomiting; fasting; or exercising excessively.
- A self-image that is obsessed by body size and weight.
Both men and women struggle with anorexia and bulimia, and they are often accompanied by an anxiety disorder or depression. An eating disorder can materialize at any time in life, but they generally surface during young adulthood or the teen years.
Associated Health Problems
Even though they struggle against a life-threatening disorder, people who have bulimia or anorexia may receive compliments on how slim or skinny they are. Often well-intentioned but ill-informed friends and family give these compliments, but skinny and healthy are very different realities. The reality is that bulimia and anorexia often cause serious health problems.
People who have bulimia may also struggle with kidney damage, tooth decay, gastric rupture, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, electrolyte imbalance, and heart failure.
People have anorexia may also struggle with disrupted menstrual cycles, infertility, low blood pressure, abnormal heart beat, low heart rate, increased risk of heart disease and failure, anemia, disrupted endocrine system, premature osteoporosis, low white blood cells, kidney damage, and ultimately, death.
How, when, and where anorexia or bulimia start in each person is often varied and intimate, but generally speaking, therapists and psychologists talk about two root causes of these eating disorders: biology and environment.
- Examples of biological causes may involve genetics, nutritional deficiencies, and irregular hormone functions.
- Examples of environmental causes may involve peer pressure to look a certain way; childhood abuse or trauma; and living in a culture obsessed with body type, thinness, and impossible concepts of beauty.
Bulimia or Anorexia Counseling
There are many nutritional, medical, and psychological treatment options that are effectively helping bulimia and anorexia clients. Often, a combination of all three is the best solution. Thriveworks Reston has counselors and psychologists who can tailor a treatment plan that meets each individual’s unique needs and gives them a great chance at regaining a healthy body image and positive eating habits.
Our counselors understand how much courage it takes to ask for help. We have done what we can to make the process easier because we want to give each client the support they need, even the first time they call our office. That’s why, when you call to make an appointment …
- A person will answer and help you schedule an appointment
- You may be able to see your counselor the next day
- We do not keep waitlists
- Our counselors accept most insurance plans
You do not need to struggle against bulimia and anorexia alone. Effective treatments are available, and Thriveworks Reston in Fairfax, VA is here to help. Call today.