An eating disorder is characterized by a severe disturbance in eating behaviors. Anorexia and Bulimia are the two most common eating disorders affecting approximately 10 million females and one million males in the U.S. Countless other individuals struggle with unspecified eating disorders, including Binge Eating Disorder. In order to receive proper treatment for eating disorders, a consultation and diagnosis from a qualified professional is necessary.
Anorexia Nervosa is the clinical term for the disorder that significantly impacts life functioning and includes symptoms such as inability to maintain a healthy body weight by either starvation, vomiting, excessive exercise or a combination of these and other behaviors. It is also distinguished by an intense fear of weight gain, a disturbance in how an individual perceives his/her body and often females will stop menstruating due to malnutrition.
Individuals who are diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa engage in behavior that includes periods of binge eating followed by inappropriate behaviors to prevent weight gain. These behaviors usually occur twice per week or more. A binge is defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most individuals eat in a specific amount of time and a sense of being out of control. Compensatory behaviors may include vomiting, excessive exercise, abuse of laxatives, etc.
Binge Eating Disorder is similar to Bulimia however the individual doesn’t engage in behaviors to prevent weight gain. Binge eating also is distinct from over-eating. Binge eating occurs on a regular basis and involves extreme amounts of food. The individual has a sense of being out of control of their behavior. Over-eating includes emotional factors and may cause a sense of dissatisfaction and distress.
In addition to these diagnostic categories, many people display an unhealthy relationship between moods, emotions, and eating. Individuals who struggle to balance mood regulation, healthy eating behaviors, healthy weight management, etc. can benefit from psychotherapy/counseling to learn better coping strategies and behaviors.
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that usually requires professional help. Often, it can be highly valuable to include other family members or concerned individuals in the assessment, accountability, and/or ongoing treatment of eating disorders. We are uniquely positioned as experts in treating families in addition to the specific needs of disordered eating concerns. If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from disordered eating similar to the categories described above, please call our office to schedule an appointment. We have trained clinicians who are able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat disordered eating issues. Give us a call at Christian Family Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 918.745.0095.