During the 1994 Olympics, Americans could not get enough of Nancy Kerrigan. She was a national hero, coming back from an assault to win a silver medal in figure skating. People saw her grace and power on the ice, but what they did not see was her battle against an eating disorder.
The pressure and the spotlight were on Kerrigan that year, and Kerrigan later explained that she felt out of control. She restricted her eating because it felt like the one thing she could control.
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender, background, race, or level of success. Millions of Americans struggle with eating disorders every single year. Unfortunately, shame and isolation are typical characteristics of eating disorders, which means that people’s suffering often remains hidden inside.
Eating disorders come in many forms, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, diabulimia, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. They can range from mild to severe and can control your life in both big and small ways.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, our licensed professionals at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA are standing by to help. Call our friendly scheduling specialists or click our booking tool to get started with a professional today.
How Do Eating Disorders Develop?
Eating disorders can develop for a wide range of reasons and can vary from person to person. However, the causes can generally be grouped into the two categories of biological and environmental causes.
Biological causes may include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Genetics or a family history of eating disorders
- Irregular hormone functions
- Changes in brain chemicals
- Psychological and emotional problems
Environmental causes may include:
- Family or childhood trauma
- Peer pressure
- A culture fixated upon thinness, certain body types, and/or narrow ideals of beauty
- High levels of stress
Often, both environmental and biological factors are to blame for any given eating disorder. Whatever the reasons for your eating disorder, treatment is available. If you’re ready to start down the road to recovery, our professionals at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA are here to help.
Symptoms and Signs of Eating Disorders
While eating disorders can affect people in different ways, certain signs and symptoms are typical for most people. For example, eating disorders often induce severe anxiety about one’s body size and weight. Someone struggling with disordered eating may become obsessed with their body and neglect other aspects of their identity.
At their core, eating disorders involve some form of unhealthy and abnormal food consumption. This unhealthy eating pattern may involve undereating, overeating, or some combination of the two. Often, another psychological disorder develops congruently with the eating disorder, such as depression or anxiety.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) specifies criteria for recognizing several types of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, two of the most common types.
The signs and symptoms of anorexia include:
- Experiencing disdain for one’s body shape or weight
- Restricting food consumption to achieve a substantially lower body weight (in comparison to healthy standards for an individual’s sex, age, developmental trajectory, and physical health)
- Experiencing intense fear at the thought of gaining weight or being fat
- Sabotaging healthy weight maintenance or gain
- An inaccurate perception of one’s body shape and weight (seeing oneself as heavier and larger than reality, for example)
- A variety of health problems, including abnormal heart beat, infertility, risk of heart failure and disease, disruptions in one’s menstrual cycle, premature osteoporosis, kidney damage, low white blood cell counts, low heart rate, low blood pressure, disruptions in the endocrine system, and anemia
The signs and symptoms of bulimia include:
- Repeatedly binge eating defined by:
- Ingesting more food in a specific time period than others could eat in the same period and in the same circumstances
- Loss of control over how much food and drink are consumed
- Attempting to offset the eating binge through actions such as forced vomiting, extreme fasting, overusing/misusing laxatives and diuretics, or extreme exercising
- A self-perception that emphasizes body weight and shape over other identifying characteristics such as intellect, personality, and emotional intelligence
- A host of health problems, including ulcers, electrolyte imbalance, kidney damage, constipation, gastric rupture, gastroesophageal reflux disease, tooth decay, and heart failure
If you’re facing an eating disorder, you don’t have to do so alone. To set up your first appointment, reach out to our team of licensed professionals at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA for Eating Disorders
If you are experiencing the effects of an eating disorder, the therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA want you to know that you are not alone. You do not have to fight disordered eating by yourself. Treatment options are available, and many of our clients have found the help they needed by reaching out for professional support.
We look forward to helping you do the same. When you call our office, you may even be able to meet with a therapist or counselor the following day. We offer evening and weekend sessions, and can often accommodate same-day and next-day appointments. We also accept many different forms of insurance.
Battling an eating disorder is challenging but getting help doesn’t have to be. Use our booking widget or call our scheduling team today at Thriveworks in Seattle, WA to get started.