Eating disorders can be viewed along the addictions spectrum for some sufferers. We now consider them to have a genetic element as well as being linked to life experiences.
For sufferers there are ways to control overwhelming and difficult emotional states involving feelings of low self esteem, body image shame, distortions of body image, feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation, difficulties in developing and sustaining relationships.
Bulimia – normal weight range with binge/restriction eating practices and purging through vomiting, laxatives or obsessive exercising
Anorexia – underweight with restrictive eating practices and often purging activities
Over eating – binge eating and compulsive eating practices and often purging activities, often chronic obesity and the health problems this brings
They are connected problems and have a common source for treatment – utilising psychotherapy and psycho-social treatments, including support groups in a community setting that help one another.
Treatment and support is focussed firstly on stopping the disordered behaviour with food, then addressing any emotional and mental health issues that are sitting beside the disordered eating.
Families are often crucial in this process when young people have the disorder, and will be encouraged to look at how the family system as a whole may have adapted to the disorder and how it needs to change to support the recovery.
Related Article: 7 Signs of a Possible Eating Disorder