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Identifying Eating Disorders Part One

Mar 4, 2008
Eating disorders are common, but are not always recognized, particularly in the initial stages when symptoms of these conditions are often confused with strict dieting. There are three principal types of eating disorders, which include Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating.

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by a refusal to maintain minimal body weight within 15 percent of a body weight defined as normal. People with this disorder exhibit an intense fear of gaining weight, an extremely distorted body image, and absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles, or amenorrhea.

Anorexics typically ignore their hunger and control their natural desires to eat, engage in obsessive exercise, and are often in denial about their condition. This denial persists even after their weight dips to dangerous, life threatening levels.

Anorexia is typically treated with therapy, which allows the patient to express their feelings and emotions that are normally sublimated by the self-imposed dietary restriction regimen. One of the most difficult challenges of treating this disorder is helping the patient to view food in a positive way, since the self discipline and self imposed controls can be hard to break, and doing so is often seen in the minds of those with this condition, as a sign of weakness.

Common treatments for Anorexia include inpatient care, closely aided and supervised by a team of doctors, nutritionists, and therapists, and outpatient care. Through hospitalization, patients are able to recognize and develop healthy eating patterns, and cope with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

When outpatient care is selected as an option, the patient receives the same amount of attention and treatment, band may undergo periods of partial hospitalization, but live at home for the majority of the course of their treatment. When young patients are involved, counseling sessions often expand to include the extended family, and other treatments and therapies may be modified as well.

Eating disorders take a serious toll on both the body and the mind, but with proper treatment and support, anorexics can recover and lead happy, fulfilled lives. If you know someone who has anorexia, or if you suspect it, lend them your support and encouragement during this difficult time in their lives.

The cycle of eating disorders can be broken, but it takes dedication and effort on the part of both the patient and those closest to them to make this possible. Don not let someone you love and care about suffer alone. Help them find a quality treatment program today.
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