Just dieting or on the verge of an eating disorder?

Eating Disorders Can be Treated

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, but they can be treated. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether your child is just trying to be healthier, or if they’re on the verge of developing an eating disorder.

Is your son or daughter just dieting and working on their fitness or are they on the verge of an eating disorder?

Take a look at these sobering statistics from the Avalon Foundation for Eating Disorders:

  • As much as 8% of the U.S. population suffers from an eating disorder (including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders). That’s nearly 24 million people.
  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. More than half of them who do receive treatment won’t have a medical team that specializes in eating disorders.
  • 42% of 1st through 3rd grade girls want to be thinner. Because of the media, toys, and peer influence, the age of diagnoses keeps getting younger and younger.
  • An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.
  • Eating disorders can affect anyone — they don’t discriminate based on gender, race, income, or orientation.
  • 95% of eating disorder sufferers are 12 to 25 years old.
  • Because eating disorders typically materialize when a person is young, education is the best tool you have to help your child.
  • 81% of 10 year-olds are afraid of being fat.

The importance of treating eating disorders

Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to 2 – 3%.

After all my years of practice, I can tell you there are certain psychological factors and personality traits that may predispose people to developing eating disorders. Many people with eating disorders suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and intense dissatisfaction with the way they look.

Furthermore, specific traits are linked to each of the disorders.

Are some people more susceptible to eating disorders?

Studies show that people with anorexia tend to be perfectionists, for example. People with bulimia are often impulsive. Physical factors, like genetics, might also play a role in the risk that individuals have.

A wide range of situations can precipitate eating disorders in the individuals who are most susceptible. Family or friends teasing about bodies (body shaming) and participation in gymnastics or other sports that emphasize low weight or a certain body image can be two culprits, for example.

Negative emotions, traumas like rape, abuse, or the death of a loved one can also prompt the development of eating disorders. Even an happy event, like giving birth, can lead to disordered eating because of the stressful impact of a new role and body image.

And once people develop initial abnormal eating behaviors the problem can snowball. Binging can signal the beginning of a dangerous cycle as the person purges food to rid themselves of excess calories and deep-rooted emotional pain. Then, they might binge again to escape problems in their day-to-day lives, and the cycle begins.

Our approach to eating disorder therapy includes personalized treatment plans, individual counseling sessions, nutrition education, and body image work. At Foundations, each client receives educational materials and self-awareness exercises to reinforce new thought and behavior patterns.

Clients see progress as they expand their self-awareness, develop understanding, and work toward healing. We help clients seize the opportunity to become comfortable with a healthy self-image and explore a life free from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, compulsive and emotional eating, and orthorexia nervosa.

Our therapy for treating eating disorders and body image issues includes:

  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Didactic, educational, and experiential therapy
  • Individual sessions with a counselor
  • Family therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Relapse prevention

Is your son or daughter headed down a dangerous path? During the free consultation we will work with you and your child to effectively address your concerns and chose the best path for a successful outcome. Let's discuss your concerns.