Anorexia and Amenorrhea: How Anorexia can be the Reason for Losing your Period

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

Eating disorders are ruthless mental illnesses which severely impact on one’s mental and physical well-being. One such eating disorder is Anorexia Nervosa. This ailment is characterized by a severely distorted body image, a fear of gaining weight, extreme starvation and restriction of food intake, and a very low body weight. This deprivation of food and nutrients can have detrimental effects to the body. Anorexia Nervosa is primarily prevalent among younger females, although impacting males as well. One side effect of this eating disorder in females is amenorrhea, or losing one’s menstrual cycle.

Amenorrhea can be classified into two forms: primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea occurs when a female does not begin her menstrual cycle by sixteen years of age. Secondary amenorrhea, loss of the menstrual cycle after it has already begun, is prevalent in many females with anorexia nervosa. The loss of one’s period can be attributed to low body weight, extreme amounts of exercise, and greater stress levels. The loss of such a regulated bodily cycle in a female’s body is dangerous, and can indicate the severity of and impairment caused by anorexia nervosa.

If amenorrhea and the underlying causes of its occurrence are not addressed, women are at risk of becoming infertile. In addition, the levels of estrogen decrease in the female body, leading to the development of pre-menopausal symptoms including loss of sleep, night sweats, and irritable moods. Finally, amenorrhea and the resulting reduction in estrogen can deplete amounts of calcium, thus making bones brittle and more susceptible to breakage. This can even occur in younger women with anorexia who are struggling through amenorrhea.

It is imperative that one seeks treatment if they are struggling with Anorexia Nervosa, and especially if one is also experiencing amenorrhea. Therapy and medication can be of assistance in overcoming this disorder, and in restoring one’s menstrual and mental well-being.

If you or someone you know is dealing with Anorexia Nervosa and/or amenorrhea, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry 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/.

Binge Eating Disorder: When your Appetite Cannot be Satisfied

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Binging” is a word that is commonly thrown around and used in our everyday language. It is used in contexts ranging from talking about “binging” on a television show on Netflix, to “binging” on food at Thanksgiving dinner. However, this word and toxic is associated with a severe eating disorder known as Binge Eating Disorder, or BED.

In eating disorders such as anorexia, people have excessive amounts of control over what they eat, and as a result restrict calories and lose extreme amounts of weight. BED, on the other hand, is characterized by an absence of control over the consumption of food. Individuals with this disorder feel like they cannot stop eating, and can consume as many as 20,000 calories in one “binge” session.

Although BED impacts about under 10 percent of individuals in terms of eating disorders (Psychology Today), it is an extremely serious problem that should be given proper attention. People often develop this eating disorder as a result of struggling with emotions or another aspect of life, from feeling pressure from society to have a certain body type, or from hormonal causes. Effected individuals can never feel satiated with eating, and often feel shame, guilt, and low self-esteem as a result of their behaviors. BED is frequently comorbid with other mental illnesses including depression and anxiety, and can cause physical complications such as gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems, and type 2 diabetes. BED can be devastating to live with, but with proper treatment, therapy, and medication, it can be stopped and treated.

So next time before you say “binging” in a context unrelated to this illness, think about the implications of the word, and the severity of BED. While you may have the ability to stop “binging” on a TV show or holiday meal, this presents a large challenge for those afflicted with this disease.

If you or someone you know is suffering from binge 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/.