Eating Disorders involve one’s unhealthy eating patterns, weight maintenance and with some, an unrealistic appraisal of body size or image. The disorders fall into three major categories, although there are a few spin offs. For my purpose here, I’ll stick to the major 3 disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder.
Anorexia is characterized by the belief that the person sees themselves as fat, despite the fact they are severely underweight. Bulimics eat in binges, then attempt to avoid gaining weight by vomiting, use of laxatives, over exercising or a combination of all three. Binge eaters eat in binges, but without the compensatory behaviors of bulimia. All are complicated and intense to work with. There is no one or simple cause.
The most important aspect of eating disorders is the debilitating effects it has on the victims. The intense shame, the secretive daily rituals, the overwhelming anxiety that ensues with the need to binge or purge, the self loathing that follows. Add to these the loss of any positive self-image or self-esteem destroyed by the compulsive behaviors and it’s easy to fall into a black hole of depression and sometimes despair. Not to mention the toll it takes on the body that can lead to many physical ailments, in some cases, even death.
THE GOOD NEWS!!! You are not alone. There is help finding the road to wellness, peace and new beginnings. The road is not easy, but few things worthwhile are, and YOU are worthwhile. Once the decision to step out of this hell is made, healing can begin.
Maria E. Middleton, MA, LMFT, LCPC