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Eating disorders are mental illnesses that influence one’s obsessive behavior with food and outward appearance. These physical and mental diseases are incredibly prevalent in America, with 28.8 million experiencing this illness in their lifetime. Eating disorders claim the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. While eating disorders are associated with developing in young women, they can affect any gender, race, or age. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Anorexia Nervosa is the severe restriction of calories and overexercising to maintain a low body weight. Those suffering from this disease fear gaining weight and tend to think they are bigger than they are. Many with anorexia use the restriction of food to cope with emotional problems and external issues. Patients put constraints on their food as a sense of control. The mortality rate for this disease is 12 times higher than any other cause of death for females ages 18-24. Our nutrition team at the Holistic Healing Center helps individuals with this illness restore a healthy body weight. We teach patients how to have a better and more neutral relationship with food through education on how nutrition affects the body.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder where individuals binge eat after a period of restriction, followed by purging or another extended period of fasting. Binging means eating an excessive amount of food past the point of wanting to stop. Individuals with this illness may take laxatives and force themselves to throw up or overexercise to eliminate the calories consumed. Purging or taking laxatives is especially dangerous, as it can lead to dehydration, heart problems, and disrupt your reproductive system. Many patients with this disease can appear to be at a healthy weight, so it can be hard to spot. If you suspect a loved one to have Bulimia, look for things like dieting/fasting, not wanting to eat in front of others, or eating a large amount of food at once.
Treatment for eating disorders and getting back into a healthy relationship with food is possible! While each person’s treatment should be individualized based on their condition, methods typically involve a mix of nutrition counseling, psychotherapy, and having a sound support system. Our nutrition team at the Holistic Health Center is here to educate individuals on how they can work to a healthy weight, develop meal plans, and educate on how nutrition works with the body. If you or a loved one is experiencing an eating disorder and seeking nutritional counseling, please contact our office to set up an appointment with our team!