Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in this country. Annette Aberdale-Kendra, author of “Group: Voices Within the Journey of Eating Disorder Recovery” shared advice on the signs, symptoms and treatment available for eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Signs and Symptoms:
Anorexia Nervosa: Obsessive preoccupation with food and body size
Self imposed starvation/change in eating habits
Significant weight loss
Distorted body image/fear of becoming “fat”

Bulimia Nervosa:
Episodic uncontrolled binge eating , followed by purging
Purging=self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, excessive exercise
Dissatisfaction and preoccupation with body and weight

Binge Eating Disorder:
Episodic binge eating followed by shame and guilt
Preoccupation with food, eating, and dieting

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder:
Primarily interferes with eating
Preoccupies an individual’s life and negatively affects their daily living experiences

What to do if you are concerned that someone you care about has an eating disorder:
Know the facts and myths
Be honest and direct about your concerns
Be caring, but firm
Be a positive role model
Compliment the person’s personality and other internal qualities/traits
Offer to assist with finding support

Treatment for Eating Disorders= A Full Team Approach:
Includes: A Physician, MSW or Psychologist, Psychiatrist if medication is warranted, Group Therapy, and Nutritionist
Inpatient Treatment Facilities are often necessary

Recovery
Isn’t a Linear process, often full of lapses and relapses
Requires the proper balance of support
Different for every individual
Will not occur until the individual has decided to recover
Is often a lifelong commitment to remain recovered

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