Co-Occuring Eating Disorders
With a biological root, eating disorders are serious diseases that are greatly influenced and controlled by emotional and cultural factors. Misunderstood by most of society, the stigma of eating disorders has long kept individuals suffering in brutal silence, without access to proper treatment. Moreover, on account of a lack of information and educational materials, many experienced professionals and the public in general have failed to recognize the life-threatening consequences of these terrible conditions. While eating disorders are a critical danger to both mind and body, there is now help available and recovery is possible with the right treatment plan and tools.
Like all addictive diseases, eating disorders come in many different forms and affect a wide variety of individuals. The most widely recognized type is anorexia nervosa which is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Occurring both in males and females, the disease is characterized by the individual’s refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight, an intense fear of gaining a single ounce, and a profound distortion in the perception of body size and shape. Individuals suffering from this disease are convinced they are fat even when they appear to everyone else like mere skin and bones.
With an excessive focus on weight and appearance, eating disorders also greatly affect athletes. In a study of Division 1 NCAA athletes, over one-third of female athletes reported symptoms and perceptions that place them at high risk for anorexia nervosa. Many recent cases of anorexia nervosa have been reported in boys and girls under the age of fifteen, and Newsweek produced a cover story reporting on the disease’s devastating consequences in families. In other words, eating disorders don’t only affect models and actors, but ravages people across the societal board.
Other widely prevalent eating disorders include bulimia nervosa and binge eating. Bulimia is characterized by the purging of most eaten food through self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise and the taking of laxatives. Binge eating in males and females is a severe disorder of recurrent compulsive overeating. Although both bulimia and binge eating involve excessive overeating, the purging to prevent any weight gain is notably absent in binging.
To effectively treat clients with eating disorders, it is necessary to facilitate a change their perception of their bodies and provide alternative ways of managing their emotions. At ONE80CENTER, our treatment team has experience with aiding clients with co-occuring eating disorders find recovery, and start living a healthier life.