Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are psychological conditions that go way beyond normal dieting behaviors. Eating disorders are very serious and often fatal conditions that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions.
Anorexia nervosa is both a psychological and eating disorder. Anorexia is a condition that goes beyond out-of-control dieting. A person with anorexia initially begins dieting to lose weight. Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is actually secondary to concerns about control and/or fears relating to one’s body. The individual continues the endless cycle of restrictive eating often to a point close to starvation in order to feel a sense of control over the body. This cycle becomes an obsession, and is similar to any type of drug or substance addiction.
Given the fear of loss of control that drives anorexia, it often occurs alongside various aspects of anxiety. When working to overcome this painful illness, it is often necessary to combine aspects of nutrition management, medication and psychotherapy.
People with bulimia regularly engage in episodes of binge eating followed by attempts to prevent weight gain. A binge is considered eating a larger amount of food than most people would eat under similar situations. For instance, someone with bulimia may eat an entire cake, rather than a slice or two. And he or she may continue eating until painfully full. Binges often occur in private. Once the binge episode ends, the purging begins. That may mean heading to the bathroom to vomit or hitting the treadmill for hours of exercise. Individuals suffering from bulimia may also take numerous laxatives or regularly fast.
Technically, bulimia can be categorized in two ways: In purging bulimia, the individual regularly engages in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics and enemas to compensate for binges. In non-purging bulimia, the individual uses other methods to rid herself of calories and prevent weight gain, such as over-exercising or fasting.
As with anorexia, bulimia presents psychological problems as well as physical ones. Bulimics often struggle with family and parental, and may find it difficult to sustain healthy romantic relationships. When treating bulimia, Dallas Whole Life Counseling integrates aspects of nutrition management and psychotherapy, and may refer the client for a medication evaluation.
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