Eating disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “behavioral conditions characterized by severe and persistent disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.” There is no single, identifiable cause as to why an individual develops an eating disorder. Research has, however, indicated certain biological, psychological, interpersonal, and social risk factors that have been noted to increase a person’s susceptibility for developing an eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), an estimated 30 million U.S. adults will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
Types Of Eating Disorders
There are several different types of eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), all of which are categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. They include:
- Anorexia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and/ or lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children, an inability to maintain an appropriate body weight for one’s age, height, stature, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body image (weight and/ or shape). People struggling with anorexia will employ extreme efforts to control their weight and/ or shape.
- Bulimia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of overeating (bingeing) and compensatory behaviors (purging) in attempts to undo the effects of the binge eating episodes. Purging could include self-induced vomiting, excessively over exercising, and/ or abusing diuretics.
- Binge-eating disorder (BED): is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsively eating abnormally large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of physical discomfort, without engaging in compensatory behaviors.
- Rumination syndrome: is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitating (spitting up) undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, chewing it again and either swallowing it or spitting it out.
- Avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): is an eating disorder characterized by restricting food intake (e.g., eating smaller amounts) and/ or eliminating certain food groups to the point of infringing on one’s exposure to and ability to absorb needed nutrients derived from food.
Eating disorders can be debilitating and can adversely affect a person’s emotions, health, and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in his or her daily life.
Signs and Symptoms
Every person is unique and will exhibit a distinct set of signs and symptoms as they relate to the presence of an eating disorder. Additionally, the type of eating disorder will influence which signs and symptoms present. The Mayo Clinic provides a list of examples of behaviors that could be indicative of an eating disorder, some of which include the following:
- Obsessively focusing on healthy eating
- Skipping meals
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Making excuses to avoid eating
- Adhering to an overly restrictive diet
- Preparing separate meals when eating in a group instead of eating what everyone else is eating
- Excessive exercise
- Constantly checking the mirror and/ or pointing out perceived flaws
- Using laxatives, herbal weight loss products, and/ or dietary supplements
- Regularly excusing oneself during meals to use the restroom
- Eating in secret
- Expressing disgust, shame, and/ or guilt about one’s eating habits
The continued malnutrition that occurs with an untreated eating disorder can lead to severe short and long-term consequences. Although eating disorders are life-long conditions, with proper treatment and support, a person can learn to effectively manage its symptoms.
Treatment In Calabasas
Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.