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Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders affect a huge number of people every year. Fortunately it is possible to beat these disorders and recover from them. However eating disorder recovery takes a great deal of time and hard work. Eating disorders can be quite complex as they are essentially an interplay between behavioral, biological and social factors. Teenagers are more vulnerable to developing eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.

In many cases, the disorder begins as early as 11 to 13 years of age. Eating disorders are known to be more common in girls, but boys may also get affected. These children may hide their condition from their families for a significant amount of time and hence the disorders may go unnoticed for many months or years. In several cases, eating disorders are also accompanied by other conditions such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Some studies indicate that the increase in incidence of eating disorders may be attributed to the images portrayed by the media. Young girls and boys begin to associate beauty with the unrealistic portrayal they see on television on a daily basis. Eating disorders are considered to be medical illnesses that are treatable. There are many eating disorder treatment programs that help to rehabilitate individuals and enable them to live normal lives.

One of the most common eating disorders is anorexia. Individuals affected by anorexia tend to starve themselves and hence experience considerable weight loss. Even though these individuals are skinny, they think themselves to be overweight. They attempt to achieve weight loss through many ways such as excessive exercise, abstaining from food and use of laxatives.  Symptoms of anorexia include weakness, shortness of breath, menstrual problems, brittle skin and anxiety. The medical risks associated with this disorder are loss of minerals, irregular heart rate, shrinking of the bones and disruption of normal growth. In individuals with excessive weight loss, treatment is aimed at correcting the malnutrition through intravenous or tube feeding. Treatment also involves psychological therapy which deals with the individual’s self-perception, family dynamics and other such factors. In case of any eating disorder recovery can be successful if proper and complete treatment is received.  Another common eating disorder is bulimia. Individuals affected by bulimia experience bouts of binge-eating which are followed by various methods of weight control. These methods include vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive exercising and fasting. Binge episodes are usually triggered by stress or depression. Doctors believe that bulimia may be caused by a person’s dissatisfaction about their own body. Treatment for bulimia usually involves counseling. Individual therapy and family therapy may also be necessary. Individuals that receive early treatment have a better chance of recovery.

An individual can only proceed on the path to eating disorder recovery once they admit that they have a problem. This can be quite difficult since all eating disorders are characterized by a deeply ingrained belief that weight loss will bring happiness and confidence. However, this can also be unlearned. The process may not be always easy, but the individual already takes the first step when she is willing to seek help. Proper eating disorder recovery therapy is not just focused on the symptoms and destructive behaviors. It also examines the underlying causes of the problem. The person’s self image, emotional triggers, inner fears and helplessness are all addressed. The best treatment also prepares the individual to face life once the program is complete. Therefore an aftercare plan is essential. There are thousands of people battling with eating disorders every day. There are also many more that have experienced successful recoveries. Eating disorder recovery inspiration comes from the accounts of these individuals who have overcome their condition and gained self-confidence once again.

Submitted on January 16, 2014