How to heal Eating Disorders
If you want to know how to heal eating disorders then you’d better know exactly what an eating disorder is. People with the most severe eating disorders often don’t know, deny outright or are unaware of what they have. Many people cross addict from drugs, pills or alcohol or even acting out negatively to an eating disorder. How to heal Eating Disorders begins with a realization that your control issues, your pathological or abnormal behaviors have morphed into a new compulsion. Obsessions, such as with control issues, start in the brain. When they move into the body, they are called compulsions. This is body and brain doing the stuff that we are thinking about either consciously or subconsciously. Once it gets to ritualization, that is behavior. And, behavior does not lie. If you lie however, if you hide food, eat in a chaotic or disordered way and have any of the below issues, it is probably time to seek medical help. Start with a doctor and then consider the option of inpatient treatment for eating disorders. You do not need to reach a rock bottom, or anywhere near it with an eating disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, depression or anything else. Today the right clinical and non-clinical help is available to you.
Emotional aspects of eating disorders?
Eating disorders are often described as an outward expression of internal emotional pain and confusion. Obsessive thoughts about, and the behaviour associated with, food are maladaptive means of dealing with emotional distress which cannot be expressed in any other satisfactory way. The emotional distress is often to do with a negative perception of self, a feeling of being unable to change “bad” things about oneself: food is used as an inappropriate way of taking control.
Perhaps due to cultural ideas of what constitutes perfection, people often feel a strong desire to be thinner than their bodies naturally tend to be – “when I am thin everything will be alright”. They confuse who they are with what they look like. As a result they change their eating patterns and may as a consequence be at risk of developing an eating disorder.
An eating disorder involves a distorted pattern of thinking about food and size/weight: there is a preoccupation and obsession with food, as well as an issue of control or lack of control around food and its consumption. There are several recognised eating disorders which can be described as follows:
How to heal Eating Disorders through Awareness
Anorexia Anorexic people starve themselves with the aim of losing weight to a point which others would consider to be very thin (although the sufferer is unlikely to perceive themselves as such). The longer the condition continues, the more difficult it can be to tackle, and in severe cases can necessitate hospitalization and can even prove fatal. Sufferers are typically in their teens or twenties and most are women, although around 10% are male. The following are symptoms:
- Distorted perceptions of one’s weight, size and shape
- Behaviour which results in a marked weight loss
- A morbid fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
- Excessive exercising (while starving)
- Cessation of periods in women.
Bulimia Bulimic people may well maintain their normal weight. The condition is characterised by:
- Bouts of eating followed by purging
- Distorted perception of own weight, size and shape
- A powerful urge to overeat, leading to binge eating and a resultant feeling of being out of control
- Compensatory behaviour such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics or other medication; fasting; or excessive exercise
- A morbid fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating and consequent feeling of being out of control
- Marked distress about binge eating and the attempts to control it
- During a binge may: eat more quickly than normal; eat until uncomfortably over-full; eat large amounts when not hungry; tend to “graze” rather than eat meals; eat alone in secret; feel disgusted and guilty with oneself.
- Weight-loss accomplished primarily through extreme dieting, fasting or excessive exercise
Other, but related difficulties with food include:
- Anorexic behaviour though still menstruating
- Anorexic behaviour where, despite significant weight loss, current weight is still normal
- Someone of normal weight inducing vomiting or purging after small amounts of food
- Chewing and spitting food rather than swallowing
What characterizes eating disorders? Apart from the characteristics described above, there are other fairly common features which are often present. Some are more likely to be recognised by friends rather than the person with the problem.
- Preoccupation with thoughts of food so that diet and food become the central focus of one’s life
- A reliance on behaviour associated with food to deal with difficult emotions, stresses and tasks
- A desire for control over at least one aspect of one’s life
- Low self-esteem from failing to meet expectations, which is then reinforced by the behaviour associated with the eating disorder, resulting in more self-disgust, shame and guilt, leading to lowered self-esteem
- Distorted thinking – “when I am thin I will be able to cope with anything”
- Secondary disorders caused by the behaviour such as dental and digestive system damage, depression
- More women than men are affected
- Sometimes, difficulty in adapting to being adult and to being sexual.
How to help yourself and How to heal Eating Disorders? The earlier help is sought the easier it is likely to be to change, but people do get over even very serious difficulties in time. The suggestions below may sound rather simplistic – in practice it usually helps considerably to talk about these with someone who is trained – and it may take some persistence!
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