Eating disorders are far from rare, with approximately 9% of the world's population suffering from an eating disorder at one time or another. But what is an eating disorder, how are they diagnosed, and what treatment options are available? If you are looking for more information about compulsive eating treatment in San Mateo CA here is the right place.
What Is An Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is "Any of several psychological disorders characterized by serious disturbances of eating behavior." Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and orthorexia are all common conditions classified as eating disorders.
While a reduction in food intake characterizes anorexia, bulimia is characterized by eating - sometimes excessively - and subsequently taking drastic steps to avoid weight gain. Bulimia has two distinct categories: Purging (i.e., vomiting after eating) and non-purging (i.e., fasting after eating).
Where anorexia and bulimia cause the patient to focus on food quantity and weight loss, orthorexia centers on the quality and healthiness of the food without regard for quantity.
Binge eating disorder involves eating large amounts of food and being unable to stop. It is considered to be very serious.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Eating Disorder?
Each eating disorder has its own set of symptoms, though there is some overlap between the various disorders. Symptoms can range from subtle to severe. In addition to noticeable changes in weight, other symptoms range from feeling awkward eating around others to digestive discomfort, dizzy spells, and even dry skin and brittle nails.
Warning Signs Of An Eating Disorder
Just as there are both unique and overlapping symptoms for each individual eating disorder, warning signs of an eating disorder can be specific to the disorder or share commonality with other disorders.
Specific warning signs of eating disorders include:
Excessive focus on body weight and food quantity
Inappropriately low weight
Taking steps to hide body condition (i.e. dressing in layers)
Remarks about feeling overweight
Evidence of excessive eating (i.e. excessive food wrappers, food containers)
Calluses on the hands and knuckles from forced vomiting
Frequent trips to the bathroom and odors consistent with vomit
Dental issues and discolored teeth
Binge Eating Disorder
Adjusting schedules to accommodate binge eating
Large quantities of food disappearing over a disproportionate period of time
Concealing food in unconventional places
Feeling unable to control eating
Weight gain may not be present
Avoiding food prepared by others
Avoiding a wide range of foods
Making comments critical of the food choices of others
Excessive focus on the source of food
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is now viewed by experts as caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry. The neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine may be in short supply in the brains of those with ADHD. The relationship between many psychiatric disorders with disordered eating is complex.
ADHD is the most commonly missed diagnosis in relation to food and appetite problems. All adults seeking treatment for binge eating or obesity should be screened for ADHD. Effective treatment for ADHD can significantly help patients off the roller coaster of disordered eating.
Treatment for eating disorders can involve several components, and often involves not only a mental health care provider but also a dietician, physician, and dentist. Having the support of family and friends is also an important piece of many treatment protocols.
Health care professionals suggest that psychological counseling is the most important part of treatment for eating disorders, with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) being a common treatment modality.
Your health care provider should help you craft a treatment plan and provide resources and guidance.