Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are not a fad or a trend or a ‘quick fix’ for weight loss. Eating disorders are severe and life-threatening psychological conditions that devastate the lives of millions of American men and women on an annual basis. Because eating disorders are so emotionally, physically, and psychologically damaging, it is often necessary for those suffering from significant disordered eating patterns to seek professional outside help. Fortunately, as eating disorders become more widely understood and accepted as serious psychological disorders rather than issues of weak will, lack of self-control, or slightly unhealthy fixations on appearance, more and more treatment facilities that focus on eating disorder recovery are being established. It has become increasingly apparent that the majority of women who suffer from severe eating disorders also suffer from some variation of substance dependency issue – therefore, innumerable dual diagnosis centers have been erected in recent times. We at Willow Place for Women understand how devastating both conditions can be, and we sincerely believe that in order for recovery to be long-lasting and meaningful, both disorders must be treated effectively and concurrently. If you are interested in getting help with eating disorders but are unsure as to what steps to take, please contact one of our representatives – we are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have. If you believe you may struggle with disordered eating but still remain unsure, take a look at the facts and statistics below.
Getting Help with Eating Disorders – What Are Eating Disorders?
It is currently estimated that somewhere around 20 million women throughout the United States have suffered from a severe eating disorder at one point in their lives. The most commonly reported eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and overeating (or binge eating) disorder. It is also estimated that between 40% and 60% of young females (middle-school aged) will begin judging their physical appearances and worrying about their weight. The concern that is developed around this time, when girls are between the ages of 8 and 12, will typically endure throughout life. Why is this? Why are females so concerned about their weight from such a young age? There are many contributing factors, such as societal pressures, media portrayal of women, and a slew of other outside influences such as parental models and peer impact.
A Matter of Life and Death
There are many differing health complications that result from each of the major three eating disorders. Those who suffer from severe anorexia are essentially starving their bodies of the nutrients they need to function normally. Bulimics put their digestive tracts under major strain, and binge eaters often put themselves at risk of a slew of health disorders that typically go hand-in-hand with clinical obesity. Take a look at some of the more severe physical consequences related to each specific disordered eating pattern.
- Reduction of bone density, or osteoporosis
- Slow heart rate and low blood pressure
- Severe hydration, which can sometimes lead to eventual kidney failure
- Hair loss
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Constant feelings of coldness – inability to get warm
- General weakness – fatigue
- Regular fainting
- Lanugo – developing a thin layer of hair over the body, which results from the body trying to keep itself warm
Bulimia – Binge and Purge Disorder
– Potential gastric rupture (during periods of regular purging)
- Electrolyte imbalance (sometimes fatal)
- Extreme dehydration
- Potassium deficiency
- Tooth decay from stomach acids
- Esophagus inflammation or rupture from frequent purging
- Pancreatitis and peptic ulcers
Binge Eating Disorders
- Heart disease
- Increased blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Gallbladder disease
- Type II Diabetes
If you struggle with an eating disorder, it is essential that you seek professional help as soon as you are able. The devastation caused by untreated disorders can be severe and permanent. For more information on getting help with eating disorders, please contact us today.