Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder Treatment is not part of our recovery services. However, it is not uncommon for someone with an addiction to also have some kind of disordered eating. If you (or your loved one) fall into that category - we can help! After you are finished with this page, we suggest going to the Dual Diagnosis tab. Even better, just pick up the phone and call us. We love getting phone calls. We can provide so much value when we work one to one.

General Eating Disorder Information

Most people have no idea that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate percentage of any mental illness. In fact, it is estimated that 8 to 10 million Americans have an eating disorder. The problem is that many times an eating disorder can be hidden. You can’t just look at the weight of a person, to diagnose the problem. In general, an eating disorder is characterized by abnormal eating patterns. In other words, eating is for psychological instead of physical needs. Eating Disorder Treatment can be very effective, especially when it is start early.

Eating Disorders

There is a surprising connection between eating disorders and addiction.

Main Types

Anorexia Nervosa - Self-starvation, rapid weight loss, and a distorted body image.

Bulimia Nervosa - Compulsive eating followed by purging. This does not have to be throwing up. Purging can also be done by abusing laxatives.

ENDOS Types - (eating disorder not otherwise specified)

Binge Eating - Characterized by frequent periods of compulsive, or excessive eating. There is no purging involved.

Orthorexics - An obsession with food quality rather than quantity. A thin body is not the goal here, its a drive for personal purity.

Night Eating Syndrome - An individual wakes up during the night and is unable to go back to sleep without eating food. This can happen several times, during the night.

Pica - Compulsion to eat non-food items. It can include things like paper, cigarettes butts, and even sharp objects.

Bigorexia - Compulsive work outs to increase muscle size.

Body Dysmorphic - Seeing something different in the mirror, than those around you.

How to Spot an Eating Disorder (the noticeable signs):

  • Secretive Behavior, like hiding food or never eating around other people
  • A sudden drop in weight
  • Only eating a few foods and eating them in small amounts
  • Leaving the table immediately after meal
  • Exercising Excessively
  • Skipping meals, usually including an excuse like “I already ate”
  • Continuous use of laxative, diet pill and diuretics
  • You might also notice things, bad breath, thinning hair, watery eyes and or swelling in the cheeks.

Pro-Ana

In the late 1990’s a movement called pro-ana or sometimes just “ana” started. It stands for pro-anorexia. There is also one called pro-mia for pro-bulimia. The advocates say that being super thin is not a disease, it is a lifestyle choice. Similarly, the pro-mia members feel that vomiting is not a disease, just a weight controlling activity. These sub-culture movements can easily be seen on websites like Pinterest and Tumbler. Featured are photos of crazy thin people that are called “the inspiration”. Tips are shared on things like “how to deal with hunger pains” or “how to vomit discreetly”. It is a place to find support. One tag line is “I love you to the bones”.

Eating disorders common in certain professions like modeling, gymnastics and dancing.

Good News

People who start an Eating Disorder Treatment Program can recover and go on to live a healthy normal life. Early diagnosis and intervention provide for a better chance at recovery. Eating Disorder Treatment normally is in the form of concealing coupled with medical attention. If you are your loved one needs help, please find the courage to make a change.

  • In the United States eating disorders are more common than Alzheimer's disease.
  • As many as one million women and one million men have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
  • Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illnesses.
  • The top three Chronic illnesses in young girls are: asthma, obesity and anorexia.
  • 90% of young women who have developed an eating disorder do so between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • Hospitalizations for eating disorders in children less than 12 years of age increased by 119% from 1999 to 2006.
  • One-half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.
  • The risk of developing an eating disorder is about 1/2 genetic and 1/2 psychosocial.

Tips for Family Members and Friends with an Eating Disorder

If your child or friend is a minor (under 18), seek the help of a treatment professional. Of course adults cannot be forced into treatment,  but you can still encourage them to seek help. If they want help -- guide them towards therapy or specialized eating disorder care.

Video link

10 best eating disorder Videos

Accept the fact that there are no “quick fixes” or cures for an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex illnesses. There are biological, psychological and sociocultural aspects. Recovery is an ongoing process. The duration of the recovery varies by individual and situation.

Give your loved one support and encouragement. Education and positive words are important during the early recovery process.

Participate in family therapy, individual therapy or other support groups to work through your feelings. This is an emotionally charged time. In addition to supporting your loved one, make sure that you have a strong support network for yourself.

Some Famous people who have struggled with an eating disorder:

  1. Elton John has had a  history of bulimia. He underwent a treatment program for drug addiction and bulimia. He is one of the few men to openly admit to his struggle with an eating disorder. Hats off Sir Elton!
  2. Princess Diana publicly confessed to battling bulimia and self-mutilation in1994.
  3. After years of speculation regarding her skeletal figure, actress Mary-Kate Olsen finally checked into an eating disorder treatment center.
  4. Victoria Beckham previously denied rumors of anorexia but now admits that she struggled during the early days of the Spice Girls.
  5. Singer Alanis Morissette struggled with anorexia when she was first trying to break into the music industry.
  6. Paula Abdul began bingeing, purging, and over-exercising early in her career. She sought help and now helps others by being an example.
eating disorder app

Recovery Record is an app designed to help people with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Want to learn more ... here is some additional information

An eating disorder is a mental and physical illness that is characterized by a preoccupation with food and weight. This condition is often so serious that the person with the eating disorder is able to focus on very few things other than the food they eat, how much they weigh, and how they appear to others. For example, a person with an eating disorder may eat extremely small amounts of food or none at all. They may also spend hours looking at themselves in the mirror. A person with another type of eating disorder may overeat or eat in secret.

Many people with an eating disorder also face other illnesses. These are called co-morbidities, or diseases that coexist with the eating disorder. For people with an eating disorder, these other illnesses often include depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.

How Do Eating Disorders Start?

The path from a normal, healthy diet to an eating disorder is sometimes a very perplexing one. While the exact cause is unknown, certain factors may play a role in the development of an eating disorder. This could include emotional issues like low self-esteem or impulsive behavior. Traumatic events, abuse, or pressure to conform to society’s definition of beauty may also trigger a shift toward unhealthy behaviors.

Eating disorders may begin slowly, with crash diets or overindulging from time to time. At some point, these habits of eating less or eating more begin to spiral out of control. The desire and drive to eat less or more is blown out of proportion. This leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and the body.

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I did not know where to go when I needed help for my drug and alcohol problems. I had medical insurance but it was too confusing to figure out if addiction treatment was covered. Feeling all alone, I decided to quit on my own, and I almost died. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did. That is why I created 800 Recovery Hub.