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Signs It’s Time to Seek Help for an Eating Disorder

Woman considers help for an eating disorder

A national survey estimates that over 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders can affect anyone of any age group, gender, ethnicity, body shape, and weight. The sooner you seek eating disorder therapy, the better your chance for a full recovery.

Contact Illumination Mental Health at 747.285.7504 to learn about our eating disorder therapy program.

What Is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder (ED) is a type of mental health condition. If not taken seriously and treated appropriately, EDs can cause a host of severe health problems, including death. There is no single cause for most eating disorders. A variety of psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors can all play a role in developing an ED.

There are several different types of eating disorders. The most widely known are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Symptoms can be specific to the type of disorder a person has, but they don’t always fit neatly into a category.

Sufferers may also have co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, or depression, making diagnosis and treatment more complex. In general, if dieting, weight loss, and controlling food or behaviors related to food are a person’s primary concerns, they may be at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Signs You Need Help for an Eating Disorder

Talking to someone about an eating disorder is a difficult subject to approach. However, an ED is not something that will go away on its own or that a person will grow out of. If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, watch for these general signs that you might need help for an eating disorder:

  • Having food rituals that must be adhered to
  • Social withdrawal, especially regarding any events where food is present (family dinners, holiday parties)
  • Frequently starting new diets
  • Weight loss or weight fluctuations
  • Body checking, unrealistic perception of the body (complaining about weight when thin)
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Frequent dizziness when standing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep complaints
  • Poor dental, hair, nail, or skin health

If you suspect someone you care about has an eating disorder, don’t ignore the problem. Approach them in a compassionate, non-judgmental way. Suggest getting eating disorder help, or even make arrangements for them.

Remember, an eating disorder is a mental health concern. It’s not something a person can simply control with willpower or change without support. Even though the conversation is difficult, talking about a person’s eating disorder may be the first step to saving their life.

How Does Eating Disorder Therapy Help?

Eating disorder therapy isn’t a fast or simple process. Like all treatments for mental health, the goal is to manage the condition, not cure it. In therapy, residents will learn new coping skills and address past issues that may contribute to the problem.

If other health conditions require care, diagnosing and treating those concerns must also be included in the overall treatment plan.

Modern eating disorder therapy may include:

  • Talk therapy
  • Nutritional education
  • Medical treatment
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Stress management
  • Medication

Residents typically work with a trained nutritionist to plan meals and develop strategies to avoid relapse. Recovery from an eating disorder is a long road. Maintaining good health requires ongoing support and access to mental health resources.

Illumination Mental Health Offers Eating Disorder Help in Los Angeles, CA

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t wait to find help. The more severe a person’s symptoms are, the more difficult recovery will be. Call Illumination Mental Health today at 747.285.7504 for the support to live a healthy, active life.

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