When evaluating the potential eating disorder treatment options available, it is necessary to first define the various types of eating disorders. An eating disorder is a broad term that refers to any mental illness specifically related to food. The three most common eating disorders are: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder.
Although misconceptions regarding food and exercise are common, and both sports medicine and nutrition are complex fields of study not easily related to the public, eating disorders are separate from general unhealthy eating or exercise habits in that they are accompanied by a destructive cycle, feelings of deep shame, and a greater risk of injurious and unhealthy behavior such as purging and secret eating.
The causes for eating disorders are complex, often rooted in other mental health disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder, anxiety, and depression. There is some evidence that hormone imbalance may contribute to the development of an eating disorder, but most of the time, eating disorders develop due to:
Treating an eating disorder begins with medical care and a carefully laid-out plan to tackle eating habits and misconceptions, helping them feel healthy, learn what it means to eat well, and eliminate the feelings and causes of binging, purging, and other eating disorder symptoms.
Because of that, a dedicated treatment facility is a good first step for those struggling with eating disorders. They need help, and a treatment facility like Paradigm has the medical staff and monitoring equipment necessary to help a young adult go through the hardest part of treatment.
I developed an eating disorder that led to me getting checked in to Paradigm. I was being bullied at school by other girls because of my weight. The biggest thing that Paradigm helped me with was creating a strategy for boosting my self-confidence and changing my mindset. I no longer look at myself and see someone overweight. Now I look in the mirror and I see someone healthy, strong, and confident.
– Melinda H
What if other people think I have an eating disorder, but I don’t?
It’s clear that there’s a certain bias involved when viewing your own behavior critically, but there’s also the real worry of being accused of having an eating disorder without having one. Concerns from friends and family can be valid and should be taken seriously, but don’t let anyone outside of a medical professional diagnose you. If your friends and family worry you have an eating disorder, then going to a doctor or a therapist can help put their worries to rest, but it could also help you come to terms with the fact that your behavior may be unhealthy.
If your life is consumed by thoughts of food and dieting, and if you exhibit some of the symptoms listed above, you should try to be open to the idea that something more is going on.
What if it’s something I can control?
You may feel this way now, but eating disorders are not just a matter of surviving minor discomforts for a better mirror image – they can be life-threatening, debilitating, and cause serious harm to you. It may start out with healthy intentions, but can quickly spiral out of control long before you realize it has. The longer this takes, the harder it is to reverse the damage.
It’s also important to understand that if your reason for not getting eating disorder treatment is the fear of someone else making decisions and having control over what you look like, this isn’t the goal of therapy. The goal of therapy is to help you be healthy, first and foremost.