You Can’t Always See An Eating Disorder

You may think that you can identify who has an eating disorder just by looking at them, but you would be mistaken. Eating disorders affect far more people than you would assume, and not every individual suffering appears in the stereotypical, underweight manner than you may have imagined.

It is estimated that approximately 7 million women of every shape and size in America suffer from an eating disorder. While the common misconception is that those with eating disorders are dramatically underweight, even individuals with anorexia may not show drastic signs of their eating disorder in their appearance.

Horses Teach Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Trending this Week at The Meadows Ranch
By Libby Neal, MA, LPC

Adolescents may be the most challenging time for parenting, perhaps second only to the “terrible twos.” Erik Erikson labeled the age between 13-18 as “role confusion.” This age group grapples with how they appear to others, how to prepare for their future and what career choice would be congruent with their ideal self-image.

Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders

It is sometimes difficult for people to understand why or how someone may become addicted to substances such as drugs and alcohol. But the reality is, much like eating disorders, the disease of alcohol or drug addiction is complex. While no single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs, research suggests that nearly 50% of individuals with an eating disorder (ED) are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol, a rate 5 times greater than what is seen in the general population.

Making Recovery and the School Year Compatible

As summer vacation draws to an end, families are making changes to their fall schedules so that each family member can accommodate the new school year. Since the entire family routine will change, its no wonder everyone feels stressed out during the first few weeks of the school year.

Families with a loved one who has been identified with an eating disorder, or disordered eating, may feel even more pressure at this time since transitions and change are high risks for eating disorder relapse. The loved one with an eating disorder may not want to burden the family with issues related to food while navigating peer pressure, having the right look and trying to get good grades.

Trauma and Eating Disorders

Many women and young girls, who experience an emotionally or psychologically traumatic event, form an unhealthy relationship with food later in life. These individuals may develop anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder as a way to help them manage or cope with upsetting emotions and difficult memories.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often a co-occurring issue with individuals who suffer from an eating disorder. When a person experiences an exceptionally harrowing event—one that may involve physical harm, emotional trauma, or the threat of physical harm—their sense of security may become damaged. As a result, females may develop an eating disorder as an attempt to gain control over their feelings of vulnerability, hyper-arousal, intrusive thoughts of the event, sense of isolation, depression, anxiety, or feelings of detachment related to the trauma.