The Truth About Eating Disorders and How to Overcome Them

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The Truth About Eating Disorders And How To Overcome Them

Eating disorders are psychological disorders that can affect your mind and body in various ways. At Avalon Malibu, we know there are many myths and stigmas surrounding the topic of eating disorders. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how dangerous and complex eating disorders can be. We want to bring awareness about eating disorders and also assure you that if you are facing the challenge of an eating disorder, recovery is possible. You may be aware that if you have an eating disorder, some mental health issues can co-occur. We understand that challenging your eating disorder may seem intimidating. However, you are not alone, and recovery will be worth it.

Types of Eating Disorders and Why They Develop

Currently, the DSM-5 recognizes eight categories of feeding and eating disorders. These eight categories of feeding and eating disorders, according to Eating Disorders by Palanikumar Balasundaram and Prathipa Santhanam, are as follows:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Pica
  • Rumination
  • Other specified feeding and eating disorders
  • Unspecified feeding and eating disorders

Eating disorders can develop for various reasons. Common myths about individuals with eating disorders tend to say that they need to eat more or less. Eating disorders are not only about the food; the amount consumed is only one component. As previously mentioned, eating disorders are psychological disorders, which means that food is merely a symptom of the disorder. The underlying issues of why someone developed an eating disorder usually have very little to do with food.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) discusses what the risk factors are for developing eating disorders and says, “Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.” This source confirms that there is not one specific cause for eating disorders to develop. You may notice you also have co-occurring mental health issues that play a role in the development of your eating disorder. Co-occurring mental health issues can add to the complexity of an eating disorder diagnosis.

Healing From Eating Disorders and Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues

There are a variety of co-occurring mental health issues that can accompany an eating disorder. According to an online brochure, “Eating Disorders: About More Than Food,” published by NIMH, common co-occurring mental health issues include anxiety and depression. This source also mentions that some people with eating disorders have substance use disorder (SUD). If you are facing any of these issues, it is important that you seek professional guidance as soon as possible. 

Healing from eating disorders and co-occurring mental health issues is possible. At Avalon Malibu, we understand the complexities of these diagnoses and want to help. If we fit your treatment needs, we can help empower you to heal with an individualized treatment plan. We can utilize various methods to help you learn how to overcome your mental health challenges and best support you for long-term recovery. 

What to Expect From Treatment

Eating disorders are complex. This means that learning about proper nutrition and honoring hunger cues in healthy ways is only part of the healing process. Eating disorder treatment can also vary depending on the facility you receive care from. However, there are a few things you can expect regardless of where you receive support. Because eating disorders are psychological disorders, you can expect to work with a therapist. Depending on your needs and specific diagnoses, you may need one-on-one psychotherapy, which is something we offer at Avalon Malibu. Other therapeutic options can include group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). 

Treatment for your eating disorder can involve different levels of care depending on your needs. Some facilities offer a range of care levels to allow you to transition from higher levels of care to lower levels of care. This can continue until you are discharged into outpatient care. Regardless of your needs, remember you are worthy of recovery and there is always someone available who can help. There is no shame in needing help for your eating disorder or any co-occurring mental health issue. Some tips for eating disorder treatment could include bringing journals, comfortable clothing, and other comfort items with you if you will be staying away from home. This can make your stay a little more comfortable and familiar. 

Additional Resources

We understand that facing an eating disorder can be isolating and stressful. Trying to find additional resources should not have to be an additional stressor. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has a website with a surplus of additional information on eating disorders. An additional source with related information includes The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) or the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED). There, you can find related articles, resources, and more.

Eating disorders are serious psychological disorders that can affect your mind and body in many different ways. At Avalon Malibu, we know healing from eating disorders is a complex process. Nutritional support is only one piece of the whole puzzle to healing from an eating disorder. If you are facing an eating disorder, you may also have a co-occurring mental health issue. We want to help support you in your recovery journey. We know eating disorders can be isolating, but you are not alone. We can help you heal with a variety of methods to help you feel empowered in your recovery long-term. Please call (844) 857-5992 for more information on how Avalon Malibu can assist you today.

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