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Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, and Body Image Issues

Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, and Body Image Issues

What IS Anorexia? What IS Bulimia? What IS Binge Eating? And what does it mean to have body image issues? In this article, I will delve into eating disorders, triggers, treatments, and what they mean in society today. Of course many people have heard of anorexia or bulimia, but they may not have a grasp on what the disorder actually are. Anorexia is when a person deprives themselves of food- meaning they won't eat, or control the amounts they eat, which usually results in major weight loss as well as other health problems. Bulimia is a form of eating disorder where an individual actually purges, or physically induces themselves to throw up, food that they have eating. In fact often times, binge eating (gorging yourself to the max) can be and is often associated with this disorder. The person will eat and eat and eat, then purge. Although individuals with bulimia do not normally display the dramatic weight loss that Anorexics do, they also will have severe health problems due to stomach acid on the teeth, etc. Most often times, all of these eating disorders stem from body image issues. Many individuals, including females and males, perceive their bodies in a way that is not realistic. They may see themselves as "fat" when in actuality they are not. It's a type of thinking and perception that does not add up to the reality of how they really look on the outside.

Triggers for these disorders can stem from so many things. To name just a few, they could include:

1) Past trauma

2) Poor self-esteem/self-image

3) Parents or someone in authority influencing an individual to achieve perfection and nothing else

4) Low self-worth

Why are these triggers? Well, take for example if your life has been managed by parents who have always expected perfection from you. Sometimes, girls and boys get to a point, that in order for them to feel any control over their lives, they take control of food- how much they eat, how much they don't eat, etc. It gives that person a sense of control, where everything else seems out of control in their lives.

Luckily, there are a lot of programs out there for individuals with eating disorders. If you or someone you know might be dealing with some of these issues, it's important to get help sooner rather than later. Search for an outpatient therapist and psychiatrist that specializes in Eating Disorders. There are inpatient and outpatient programs at hospitals and treatment centers that focus on eating disorders. Often times, there are also programs that work in conjunction with eating disorder programs called self-injury programs. It has been found in some research and from many of my clients who have dealt particularly with anorexia, they they also will engage in self-harm (cutting, etc.) to help with the emotional pain they are going through.

Please seek out treatment. These issues are very serious and can result in death. Check out where you can speak online with a counselor such as myself who specializes in these areas or look into your area for in-person counselors/therapists/psychiatrists. Here is also a website link that I would highly recommend looking at in regards to this topic that is such an issue in today's culture of being "thin."

17 comments (Add your own)

1. Bilal wrote:
This is such a great video! Thank you for speaking on this issue. The exlpeams given herein are definitely distressing to those of us fighting eating disorders. Be well, sweet spirit!

Thu, August 15, 2013 @ 6:41 AM

2. compare life insurance policies in NYS wrote:
Great post, Laura. I agree about all the things parents need to do to be in charge. I look forward to your next entry.Regarding the It s all about control issue, after years of thinking about and studying EDs, it seems to me that all ED sufferers are pathologically attached to a FEELING that they are in control of something as they engage in their ED behaviors: for anorexia, it s control of body weight with restriction; for bulimics, control of their false hunger when bingeing and then control of body weight when they purge; for over-exercisers, control of body weight and shape; for binge eaters, control of their false hunger. Ultimately, they feel that, by using their ED behaviors, they are able to prevent experiencing some very scary emotions and thoughts that they d like to keep under their awareness. The enslavement to their concept of control to us seems completely irrational, since they are controlling themselves to death or chronic ill-health and debilitation.Sufferers must give up all of these feelings of control over their food, body weight/shape and exercise to someone else (or to a Higher Power as they do in Overeaters Anonymous and Anorexics Bulimics Anonymous) in order to have a chance at recovery. As long as sufferers hang firmly on to their extreme ideas, they will be held tightly in the grip of their ED.

Tue, August 27, 2013 @ 5:26 PM

3. free life insurance quotes wrote:
I should try to focus on little things and on moments, not on the ED as a whole. Having dinner with friends without thinking too much about it is a great thing and was basically impossible for me lately! And I should remember that instead of focussing on how much is still "not good" . She told me I have to accept my ED, basically to let it happen when I really can't change it, because I have to accept that I can't change all at once. Maybe that's just a personal thing for me, but it calms me down, because it lessens the feeling of a certain pressure to get better as fast and as "perfect" as possiblbe, without any hard times. But I have to say that I have some problems with the being thankful thing...I definitely have a lot of things I am very thankful for: I study the subject I always wanted to, I have a wonderful boyfriend and loving and supporting family and friends, I am able to travel a lot, to persue my hobbies...I could go on for a time. But knowing all that makes me actually feel bad, because I feel like PRECISELY BECAUSE of all that I should be thankful and "normal" instead of making it harder for everybody (EDs are a burden for families and friends, of course they take it differently, but it is certainly something difficult we all have to deal with when we know somebody who is ill). Like I am not allowed to make these problems because I should be happy about my life instead of destroying it. I'm sorry if this is too negative, you can delete some of it if you want to...I just wanted to say that this is not easy for me...But other than that: I am VERY THANKFUL for your videos and all the effort you put into this! (even though I still feel like I'm bugging you with saying the same stuff over and over when I'm struggling...sorry for that!)

Thu, August 29, 2013 @ 7:44 AM

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