Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating Disorders

An eating disorder describes extreme or irregular eating habits combined with deep anxiety over body weight or appearance.

Facing an eating disorder—be it anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating—is extremely overwhelming. After all, you can’t simply “quit” food to overcome this battle. Instead, it takes time and professional support to establish a healthy relationship with nutrition, exercise, and your body. Men and women with eating disorders also face frustrating misconceptions from society and even loved ones. An eating disorder isn’t merely a superficial desire to be thin. It also isn’t a moral weakness. It’s a real disorder rooted in biological and psychological causes. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, know that all hope is not lost—with professional treatment, recovery and healing is possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Eating Disorders

An eating disorder describes extreme or irregular eating habits combined with deep anxiety over body weight or appearance. There are three common types of eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa describes a severe restriction of food by people who believe they are overweight—even if they are dangerously underweight. Bulimia nervosa is marked by overeating followed by self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or the use of laxatives or diuretics to avoid weight gain. Individuals who suffer from binge eating demonstrate a lack of control over their eating, often eating to the point of guilt, sickness, or both. Binge eaters don’t follow their eating with vomiting or fasting, so they are more likely to develop obesity than sufferers of anorexia or bulimia.

It’s practically impossible to pinpoint the exact causes of any one person’s eating disorder, as the roots are often a complicated intersection of biological and psychological factors. Biological factors could include hormonal imbalances, genetics, or nutritional deficiencies. Psychological factors include poor self-esteem or a negative body image, sometimes compounded by environmental or social pressures.

Each of the three most common eating disorders can have serious physical consequences. Those suffering from anorexia face a risk of brain and organ failure, low blood pressure, bone loss, severe dehydration, kidney failure, infertility, and even death. Those suffering from bulimia can experience damage to their gastrointestinal system, electrolyte imbalances, heart failure, tooth decay, an inflamed or ruptured esophagus, and death. Binge eating can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Yes, people of any gender, age, or race can develop an eating disorder.

Individuals suffering from an eating disorder benefit from professional treatment, including psychotherapy or counseling. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are useful in helping men and women recognize and replace harmful beliefs and behaviors. Treatment plans also include nutritional support and counseling.

How Hawaii Island Recovery Can Help You Recover from an Eating Disorder

Hawaiian Island Recovery offers men and women an opportunity to recover from eating disorders while living on the beautiful island of Hawaii. Our multi-disciplinary, integrative treatment approach combines psychotherapies, such as CBT, with experiential and holistic therapies, such as wild dolphin assisted therapy. All residents also have nutritional support and access to healthy, delicious meals from our chef, Dani.

To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one recover from an eating disorder,

Call Us Today: 866-390-5070