Eating Disorders - Total Behavioral Health

Not a Lifestyle Choice

Eating disorders are serious and sometimes fatal illnesses .They often develop in the teen and young adults, although they can develop at any age. Total Behavioral Health will work with you not only to regain healthier eating habits, but will guide and support you through reversing the complications eating disorders bring to multiple aspects of every day life.

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Often simply called anorexia — is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight or shape. People with anorexia use extreme efforts to control their weight and shape, which often significantly interferes with their health and life activities.

When you have anorexia, you excessively limit calories or use other methods to lose weight, such as excessive exercise, using laxatives or diet aids, or vomiting after eating. Efforts to reduce your weight, even when underweight, can cause severe health problems, sometimes to the point of deadly self-starvation.

Bulimia is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging.

During these episodes, you typically eat a large amount of food in a short time, and then try to rid yourself of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. Because of guilt, shame and an intense fear of weight gain from overeating, you may force vomiting or you may exercise too much or use other methods, such as laxatives, to get rid of the calories.

If you have bulimia, you’re probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape, and may judge yourself severely and harshly for your self-perceived flaws. You may be at a normal weight or even a bit overweight.

Be alert for eating patterns and beliefs that may signal unhealthy behavior, as well as peer pressure that may trigger eating disorders. Red flags that may indicate an eating disorder include:

– Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
– Adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet
– Excessive focus on healthy eating
– Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats
– Withdrawing from normal social activities
– Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
– Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
– Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
– Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
– Excessive exercise
– Calluses on the knuckles from inducing vomiting
– Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting
– Leaving during meals to use the toilet
– Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
– Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
– Eating in secret

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