Living in an era obsessed with thinness, dieting, and extreme exercise, you may have difficulty recognizing that your thoughts or behaviors relating to food have become detrimental to your health and happiness.
An eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder may have become a means of expressing control over the chaos swirling around you. Or an eating disorder may have developed as a way to cope with symptoms of another mental health disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), substance abuse, or Bipolar Disorder.
In the United States alone, 24 million people of all ages and genders struggle with an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Despite that, only 10 percent of those people receive needed eating disorder treatment.
Eating disorders are very serious, complex mental illnesses that have an impact on both your physical and mental health. Left untreated, they can be fatal.
At Clearview Treatment Programs’ eating disorder treatment center in Los Angeles, we can help you end your unhealthy relationship with food and address the issues that are at the root of your eating disorder.
What Does an Eating Disorder Look Like?
Eating disorders affect both men and women, and can be triggered by a variety of causes, including genetics, mental health disorders, or other social or psychological factors. There are many types of eating disorders, but the most common are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or Binge Eating Disorder.
Anorexia nervosa causes people to obsess about their weight. If you are struggling with anorexia, you may have attempted to maintain a weight that’s far below normal for your age and height. It is common for those suffering from anorexia to starve or exercise excessively to prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, leaving you with a myriad of dangerous health problems. When you have anorexia, you often equate thinness with self-worth, but people with anorexia nervosa are 18 times more likely to die early deaths compared to the general population.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control. This binge eating is followed by destructive behaviors that compensate for overeating, such as self-induced vomiting, the abuse of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of all these behaviors. This binging and purging cycle may occur daily or weekly.
People with bulimia nervosa commonly sustain a healthy or normal weight. The intense fear of gaining weight and the desperate desire to lose weight leaves them deeply unhappy with their body size and shape. Bulimic behavior is often engaged in secretly due to a prominent development of feeling an inner disgust or shame.
If you have experience with Binge Eating Disorder, you know what it is like to lose control over your eating. Different from bulimia, binge eating is not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. Binge Eating Disorder often leaves its sufferers overweight or obese. It also leaves them at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as guilt, shame, and distress about their eating habits, which can trigger additional binge eating cycles.
Treating Eating Disorders
While often challenging to overcome, eating disorders are treatable. At an eating disorder treatment clinic, you can gain a greater sense of who you are, returning to healthier eating habits and reversing the damage caused by your disordered eating.
Eating disorders frequently co-occur with other mental ailments such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, or Borderline Personality Disorder. When this happens, it’s important to get treatment for both your eating disorder and any co-occurring disorder to that you can make a complete recovery.
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No matter how severe your problem with eating might be, you can recover from it to gain a happy and fulfilling life, free of the pain and worry related to food. Though we are not a primary eating disorder treatment center, we do provide support for your eating disorder in our residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient treatment programs along with treatment for other mental health disorders and addictions.
Eating Disorder FAQs
Can eating disorders be fatal?
The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, although there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders due to the fact that those suffering from eating disorders ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition, or suicide. Commonly, the medical complications of death are reported rather than the eating disorder which compromised the sufferer’s health.
Do men suffer from eating disorders?
The nearly 25 million people in the United States struggling with an eating disorder do, indeed, include men. In fact, men make up 10 percent to 15 percent of the population with anorexia and bulimia, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. While they go struggle with eating disorders, men are also the least likely to seek eating disorder treatment due to the gender stereotypes surrounding the disorders.