There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask how you can become a contributor!
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Eating disorders affect every gender, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. People from preteens to seniors may have eating disorders. Their struggles with food disrupt the health and well-being of the individual, as well as that of their families and their communities.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are not the only eating disorders. Compulsive overeating and binge eating disorder (BED), combined with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED) are actually more prevalent than anorexia or bulimia.
In the U.S. alone, more than 30 million people will struggle with an eating disorder.
Among adolescents, eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness. Eating disorders are as prevalent or more prevalent than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia. All deserve timely treatment, but eating disorder treatment resources are far less available than those for other serious illnesses.
People with eating disorders are also struggling with other issues, including substance use disorder (SUD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual abuse history, depression, anxiety disorder, and other health issues.
Eating disorders aren’t a choice, behavior problem, or lack of willpower. An eating disorder is an illness with biological and genetic roots that are influenced by culture.
People with eating disorders may soothe their discomfort, stress, uncertainty, pain, sadness, or desires with food until their health—and maybe their life—is in danger. Many people who are recovered from eating disorders say their illness functioned as a companion—but that the relationship was abusive and destructive. Eating disorder rituals offered an illusory sense of stability, reliability, predictability, and control. But the illness also had characteristics of an abusive relationship, as disordered behaviors and thinking reinforce misconceptions and beliefs—leading the person to feel trapped in unhappiness and serious danger.
Interacting with a loved one struggling with eating disorder symptoms can be difficult. Family and friends may worry that they won’t “do it right.” Remember, family and friends are important resources for a loved one’s recovery.
In the U.S., someone dies every 52 minutes as a direct result of an eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any other psychiatric disorder. For females between 15 and 24 who suffer from anorexia, the mortality rate is 12 times higher than all other causes of death, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Anorexia and bulimia can result in heart failure, suicide, early-onset osteoporosis, amenorrhea, kidney failure, pancreatitis, and other serious problems. Binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating can lead to Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other illnesses.
There is a stereotype that only women experience eating disorders. In reality, eating disorders affect people of all genders, including men, transgender people, and non-binary people. Approximately 10 percent of people with eating disorders are male, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Some males with an eating disorder want to lose weight, while others want to gain weight or “bulk up,” raising the risk for steroid or substance use to increase muscle mass.
Gender-expansive individuals—which describes a variety of gender identities that do not fit within the constraints of cisgender (an individual whose assigned sex at birth matches their gender identity) or binary gender identities (woman or man)—can have a higher chance of forming disordered eating habits or an eating disorder for a variety of reasons, including discrimination, stigma, and prejudice. There are specific difficulties that each group within the gender-expansive umbrella face. For example, transgender people may feel pressure from society to fulfill the unrealistic body ideals of their specific gender identity.
For more information about eating disorders and our services, please contact us. We’re here to help.
The warning signs of eating disorders are sometimes hard to detect, especially if the individual denies or purposely hides their struggle with food. Watch for dramatic calorie reduction, purging behaviors, uncontrollable overeating, and/or unrelenting distress about body weight and shape. The Emily Program treats all types of eating disorders in people of all ages and genders.
An eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, is classified as a mental illness that affects an individual’s eating habits and can cause severe distress about body weight and shape. A person’s disturbed eating patterns may include inadequate nutrition or periods of excessive food intake. Eating disorders are serious, even deadly conditions that can affect any age group, gender, or race. If you or someone you love is struggling with food, schedule an eating disorder assessment with The Emily Program today or call us at 1-888-364-5977 for real help. And real hope.
Eating disorders affect a person physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and psychologically. Prominent indications include:
Dramatic weight gain or loss
Frequently talking about food, weight, and shape
Rapid or persistent decline or increase in food intake
Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns
Purging, restricting, binge eating, or compulsive eating
Abuse of diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or emetics
Denial of food and eating problems, despite the concerns of others
Eating in secret, hiding food, disrupting meals, feeling out of control with food
Medical complications, such as menstrual irregularity, dizziness, fainting, bruising, dry skin, leg cramps, hair loss, brittle hair, osteoporosis, diarrhea, constipation, dental problems, diabetes, chest pain, heart disease, heartburn, shortness of breath, organ failure, and other serious symptoms
Research shows that between 10 and 25 percent of the individuals suffering from an eating disorder are male. However, men tend to talk about their bodies differently than women. For example, men may say they want to lose weight to decrease body fat, while women may talk about losing weight to be thin. Men want to be lean and muscled; women want smaller waistlines. Men want to increase muscle mass; women want to diet. Restricted nutritional intake and over-exercising are common symptoms among males struggling with eating disorders.
The Emily Program helps individuals of all genders struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, OSFED, ARFID, and other mental health and body image issues. Our personalized treatment plans provide support for co-occurring conditions for whole-body healing so you can lead a full, healthy life.
Eating disorders often present with a second disorder, including substance use disorder, anxiety, trauma, or depression. We believe that simultaneously providing support for co-occurring conditions is the most effective approach for a lifetime of recovery.
At The Emily Program, our team of medical providers, therapists, dietitians, and support staff brings decades of experience to addressing co-occurring disorders. We understand the complexity of dealing with multiple mental health issues.
We provide a multidisciplinary and integrative care approach that combines our evidence-based treatment with personalized care. Typically, support at The Emily Program includes:
Read more about the link between eating disorders and other mental health diagnoses here.
People struggling with food issues may not show all the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or compulsive overeating. It’s okay. At The Emily Program, we recognize and treat Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED).
If you or someone you know needs help with OSFED, reach out today.
Not everyone with an eating disorder fits neatly into one group. Sometimes it’s a combination of the disorders, symptoms present to a greater or lesser degree, or a completely unique struggle with feeding, food, exercising, or body image that impairs the health and well-being of an individual. Some conditions within OSFED include:
All of these conditions pose serious emotional, psychological, and physical health risks. And all of them deserve attention.
Read more about OSFED here.
Ask for help. You are not alone. Begin your journey to recovery today.
ARFID is more than just picky eating. Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), which was previously referred to as “selective eating disorder” (SED) is a disturbance in feeding or eating that results in substantial weight loss (or, in children, a failure to put on weight), nutritional deficiency, dependence on tube feeding or oral nutritional supplements, or difficulty engaging in daily life.
If you or someone you know needs help with ARFID, reach out today.
ARFID is commonly confused with anorexia nervosa due to the shared symptoms of drastic weight loss and nutritional deficiency. However, while some symptoms are similar, the two eating disorders are not the same. The most notable difference is that those with ARFID lack a desire for thinness and obsessive thoughts about body image.
ARFID can affect all populations, regardless of gender, age, race, and socioeconomic status. ARFID is commonly connected to another psychiatric diagnosis, typically to an anxiety disorder or to obsessive-compulsive disorder. ARFID is not the result of a lack of food or the symptom of another medical disorder.
This eating disorder can have severe health consequences due to the lack of meeting nutritional needs. Some indications include:
Read more about ARFID here.
Ask for help. You are not alone. Begin your journey to recovery today.
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