Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

By Kim Simone

Warning Signs of Eating Disorders

Signs of eating disorders oftentimes go unrecognized by those around the struggling individual. While eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder each have their own risks, it is critical to know that they can be fatal if left untreated for a certain period of time. Fortunately, eating disorders can be treated by mental health care providers. Supportively encouraging an individual struggling with an eating disorder to seek treatment can save their life.

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:

Behavioral Signs:

  • Skipping meals
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Refusal to eat certain foods
  • Expressing preoccupation with food, weight, nutrition, etc.
  • Consuming only small portions of food at a time

Emotional Signs:

  • Extreme concern with body shape and size
  • Extreme mood swings

Physical Signs:

  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Feeling cold regularly
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal issues

Seeking Treatment

It is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. It emphasizes the interaction between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The approach is centered on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives.

The treatment for different eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder vary. During treatment, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes. Medications can be an effective treatment option when combined with psychotherapy in treating individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Supportively encouraging an individual to seek treatment for an eating disorder can be lifesaving.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com.

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms

https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/mental-illnesses-disorders/eating-disorders/treatment

Image Source:

https://integrativelifecenter.com/how-diet-culture-influences-eating-disorders/

Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

By Kim Simone

Body dissatisfaction is characterized by an individual’s persistent negative thoughts and feelings about his or her body. It is commonly influenced by external factors such as societal norms and perceived pressure from other individuals. High levels of body dissatisfaction can lead to low self-esteem and ultimately lead to harmful eating and exercising behaviors.

On the contrary, having a positive body image is associated with self-acceptance, higher self-esteem, and having healthier practices in regards to eating and exercising.

The Four Primary Elements of Body Image:

  1. Perceptual body image:  the way you see your body
  2. Cognitive body image:  the way you think about your body
  3. Affective body image: the way you feel about your body (often characterized by satisfaction or dissatisfaction)
  4. Behavioral body image: the behaviors you engage in as a result of your body image (may include unhealthy eating behaviors and exercising habits)

Body dissatisfaction fluctuates throughout the lifespan and is correlated with lower levels of self-esteem. These concerns are linked with poor self-concept, which not only affects physical and mental health, but also impacts individuals socially and academically. Since body dissatisfaction often leads to low self-esteem, individuals may be at risk for developing more serious disorders. A poor self-concept, and consequently a poor body image, may influence eating behaviors, making individuals more at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated, it is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. The approach emphasizes having the individual understand the interaction and inter relatedness between his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This therapy focuses on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives. Furthermore, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and/or eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/body-image/

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-14627-021

https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/resource/what-is-body-dissatisfaction-and-how-does-it-lead-to-eating-disorders

Image Source:

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5bb5f917210000d501c88483.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale&format=webp

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

By Fiona McDermut

            In light of the start of “beautiful in your own skin” month, it is important to recognize that many struggle with body image satisfaction. Not all people look in the mirror and feel content with what they see. Even if those around you do not understand your body-related concerns, your feelings are totally valid and can be helped with treatment.

            Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) is a mental illness characterized by a hyper fixation on perceived defects in one’s appearance. This interferes with day-to-day life because one may spend a large amount of time worrying or attempting to adjust the perceived flaw. These behaviors usually result in obsessive body comparison to others, avoidance of social interaction, and frequent negative body-checking (looking in the mirror repeatedly at disliked body parts). Unfortunately, many have associated their own happiness with how closely their bodies align with current beauty standards portrayed in the media. As one lets these thoughts progress, they can worsen, and possibly be a precursor to an eating disorder or other disorders associated with body dissatisfaction such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

            While many believe that cosmetic surgery will fix their perceived flaws, research has shown that such surgeries do not improve psychological symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. The first step to resolving the issue is recognizing that you have a warped view of what you look like. If you or someone you know experiences this, it can be very beneficial to seek psychological/psychiatric assistance. Professionals in the field will be able to decide the best way to treat these disordered thoughts. The most common treatment for body dysmorphia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other possible treatments include hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and the prescription of antidepressant medication in order to decrease the feelings of dissatisfaction.

            Working with a professional is important in situations like these, but it is still important to remind yourself that your perceived flaws are only noticed by you, and likely not those around you. Nobody is perfect, but with the constant pressure of modern media to be thin, our flaws often appear to be more apparent to ourselves than they are to others. The practice of mindfulness exercises may also help to focus your mind on what you have learned to love about yourself, and of course, do not be afraid to seek help when necessary.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201507/whats-the-best-way-deal-negative-body-image

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shrink/201409/how-stop-hating-your-body

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1740144507000988

Image source: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/