No matter what you think, most of the time you cannot tell that someone has an eating problem or disorder just by looking at them. Experts believe that eating disorders may be caused by a variety of factors. Although they can affect people of any gender at any stage in life, they’re most commonly reported in adolescents and young women. In fact, as many as 13% of our youth might experience an eating disorder by the age of 20. While there are multiple classifications of eating disorders recognized now, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common.
Type of Eating Disorders
- Anorexia Nervosa – Tends to affect more women than men & generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood. Sufferers generally view themselves as overweight, even if they’re dangerously underweight.
- Bulimia Nervosa – Again tends to affect more women than men & generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood. Those with bulimia frequently eat unusually large amounts of food in a relatively short period.
- Binge Eating Disorder – Typically begins during adolescence and early adulthood, but can also develop later on and has symptoms similar to those with the binge-eating subtype of anorexia or bulimia.
- ARFID – Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a new name for what was known as a “feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood,” which was a diagnosis reserved for children under seven years old. Common in both women and men and persisting into adulthood, this disorder results in disturbed eating either due to distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors, textures, temperatures or just a general lack of interest in eating.
Signs Someone May Have an Eating Disorder
While some of those with the eating disorder anorexia are dangerously thin, many others are not noticeably skinny at all. However, sufferers of this and other eating disorders may display warning signs that can indicate they may need help.
- Extreme Mood Swings – Personality changes and unexplained highs/lows.
- Rigid/Obsessive Eating Habits – Never eating in front of new people, insisting on eating at certain times, cutting food into tiny pieces, and other new or “odd” behavior.
- Suddenly Wearing More Clothes – In an attempt to hide weight loss or having trouble staying warm.
- Excessive Exercise – Either in an attempt to prevent weight gain, or to assist with more weight loss.
- Laxative Use or Vomiting – Both are signs of either anorexia or bulimia.
- Avoiding Meals – Being too “busy” to eat with the family or throwing a large portion of their food away.
- Hoarding – Secret food stashes or hiding uneaten food.
- Sudden Isolation – Cutting of family/friends or no longer participating in activities/hobbies they once enjoyed.
- Sudden Interest In Food, But Not Eating – Watching others eat, cooking elaborate meals but eating little, if any, studying recipe books and food magazines, and even watching cooking shows on tv seemingly “overnight.”
- Vanishing Act – Disappearing just before mealtime or immediately after consuming food. Especially if they always seem to have someone unexpectedly “come up.”
Professional Help is Closer Than You Think
In St. Paul and surrounding areas, sufferers from eating disorders have a caring therapist available that works to foster individualized treatment to assist clients in reaching their goals. Therapy with Ben Wolf will include the Maudsley Family Based Therapy approach, which can mostly be construed as an intensive outpatient treatment.
The Maudsley Approach proceeds through three clearly defined phases and is usually conducted within 15-20 treatment sessions over a period of about 12 months. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem and expressing a want and need to get better. Seeking therapy can be scary and overwhelming so we encourage you to speak with family or friends about getting help or come to us knowing we will provide you with private, confidential, and loving treatment.