Our society is no stranger to eating disorders; two of the most well-known disorders - anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa - affect an increasing amount of today’s young boys and girls. Other disorders include binge-eating disorder, restrictive eating, and pica.
All eating disorders are characterized by an overall concern with the general appearance and weight of the body. Several factors can contribute to the development of eating disorders, including:
- Other psychological issues (depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Social factors
- Emotional health (self-esteem)
When left untreated, eating disorders can be life-threatening and hugely impact your life, and the life of all your loved ones. Online counseling offers comparable treatment and support to face-to-face counseling to help you beat this illness and return to a normal, healthy life.
Anorexia nervosa is most often associated with an extremely skewed body image. Usually, people see themselves as overweight, even though they are usually very underweight.
The disorder becomes an obsession and people who are anorexic may:
- Weigh Themselves One or More times a Day
- Count Calories
- Carefully Portion Food
- Experience Episodes of Binge-Eating Followed by Excessive Dieting or Exercise
A common misconception society has of anorexics is that they are always frail and extremely underweight. Unfortunately, for many anorexics, their weight may still be considered 'normal' and physically, there may be no sign of disordered eating. This only contributes to the cycle of skewed body image and harsh dieting.
If you believe someone you know is suffering from anorexia nervosa, look out for these symptoms:
- A frail or emaciated frame
- Obsession with being overweight
- Fear of gaining weight
- Restricted eating
- Brittle hair and nails
- Dry skin
- Low blood pressure
- Discontinuation of menstruation (in females)
- Organ failure
Face-to-face counseling can be intimidating, time-consuming, and expensive, so if you haven't sought out professional treatment for any of those reasons - find an online therapist for help with eating disorders immediately, so you can get the help you need and begin recovery and a more healthy lifestyle.
Like anorexia, bulimia nervosa is characterized with a preoccupation with body image and weight. The main difference, however, lies in the fact that those suffering from bulimia regularly experience episodes of binge eating, followed by purging.
Purging serves to compensate for the excessive caloric intake consumed and can be performed through self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or enemas, excessive exercise, or starvation.
Usually, people suffering from bulimia seem to maintain normal body weight. In fact, it's not unheard of for a person to be slightly overweight and bulimic. Despite this, there is still an underlying fear of gaining weight, and great desperation to lose the weight they have.
Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
- Chronic sore throat
- Inflammation in the neck and jaw
- Tooth decay
- Acid reflux or other digestive issues
Reaching out for help can be daunting and challenging, which is why so many people suffer in silence. Fortunately, a number of trained online therapists are available to help you from the comfort of your own home.
Binge eating disorder is essentially the first half of bulimia nervosa, but without the purging. Individuals will experience episodes of uncontrollable eating, quickly followed by intense guilt and shame.
People suffering from this type of eating disorder are usually overweight or even obese. This combination of excessive eating without ever burning off the calories can be very dangerous and often results in cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.
One of the more uncommon types of eating disorders, pica is characterized by the consumption of nonfood items. These items include soap, clothing, chalk, or even dirt.
Many times, the obsession to eat these items stems back to something that occurred during childhood; perhaps the item brings a sense of comfort, relaxing the individual in times of stress.
Though this eating disorder does not always directly affect body weight, it can contribute to the onset of several medical complications that can often result in death.
No matter the type of eating disorder, all of the above mentioned are equally as serious and life-threatening. It is imperative you, or anyone suffering from an eating disorder, seek immediate treatment.
The Virtual Therapist Network has a wide range of professional online therapists who are trained and experienced in eating disorders and can provide you the online therapy you need in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
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