Understanding Eating Disorders
Who doesn't worry about food? We all do at times. But people with eating disorders live in fear of food and of being fat. Often unable to control their food intake, they hide their eating habits. Secret starving, binge-eating or the purge of food are all common, as are the psychological anxiety, depression, guilt and shame which accompany eating disorders.
Mild to severe obesity, bulimia and anorexia have reached epidemic proportions. It's no suprise, given the billions of dollars spent each year on diets and on media promotions of the "thin" ideal. Despite the fact that tens of millions of people suffer from eating disorders, many are unaware of the health symptoms and the risks which are unique to each. Many victims of such disorders are psychologically unable or unwilling to seek available treatment.
Get Professional Diagnosis
Many people try to diagnose an eating disorder without professional help. Anorectics are often described as always feeling "fat", bulimics as either slightly overweight or average, and obese individuals as compulsively overeating high-fat, high-calorie foods. While these and other symptoms are common, may other symptoms will be unrecognized by anyone except a professional eating disorder specialist. Only your doctor or a specialist should diagnose an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are treatable. You really can feel good about yourself again. Learning to recognize the symptoms of your eating disorder, or that of a family member or friend, is an important learning process which is best guided by an appropriate professional. He or she can discuss health risks and treatment options. With understanding and commitment, it's possible to recover from an eating disorder.