There are major categories of eating disorders and subtypes within these categories. Importantly, there is no single set of circumstances to explain why one person develops an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex illnesses that involve biological, genetic, psychological, and social factors. Eating disorders commonly co-occur with other illnesses such as anxiety or depression among others. Below is a brief overview of eating disorders. For more information, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association resources.
To understand what can be happening inside the mind of a person who has an eating disorder, please watch Dr. Laura Hill at Ted Talks Columbus.
For a person who is struggling with an eating disorder, food and the body have become the focus of an all-consuming attempt to numb pain, to cope with stress and trauma, and to gain a sense of control where they have felt they have had none. To the outsider, the eating disorder “doesn’t make sense.” For the person living with an eating disorder, it is becomes the mechanism by which they protect themselves from pain, trauma, and uncertainty. Over time, the eating disorder robs a person of their life, their vitality, their ability to trust themselves.
In working with people who have an eating disorder, Kristin begins a journey with you, from the place you are right now, with your relationship to food and with your body. Together, you will tread through the murky waters of what food means to you, work through the food preferences and aversions that the eating disorder commands of you, and understand what it means to be living in your body now compared to before the eating disorder took hold. As Kristin helps you navigate out of the entanglement of eating disordered thoughts and behaviors, you will become better able to nourish yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.
How does this happen?
This process looks different for each person. Kristin works with each client through an experience of unconditional love, patience, and support as you become aware of, explore and navigate through your unique concerns and challenges. With grace and gentleness, Kristin helps you find your way to back to trusting yourself, trusting your appetite, and reclaiming the wisdom of your own body and mind.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by weight loss, or lack of expected weight gain in child and adolescent growth/development based on height, age, and stature. AN is accompanied by a fear of gaining weight and a distorted view of one's body image. AN is a life-threatening illness with the highest death rate of any mental health condition.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder presents as a person who is very "picky" or "selective" about food -- taste, texture, color, and odor among other qualities. However, dit is much more than just being picky. People with ARFID significantly limit the amount and/or types of food they eat, but they do not not show any distress about body shape/size, or fear of fatness. Behaviors associated with ARFID can interfere with growth and development, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing, and can be life-threatening.
Bulimia is an eating disorders characterized by cycles of overeating (bingeing) and purging (getting rid of the calories from food). Purging may involve over exercise, use of laxatives, diuretics or other substances to flush out food from the body, and self-induced vomiting. Bulimia also can be a life-threatening illness.
Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, involving recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food; a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; and experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards;. Unlike bulimia, BED does not involve purging to compensate for the binge.
Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with health foods, healthy eating, or "clean eating" to the point that this fixation interferes with daily activities, obligations, and overall health and wellbeing. Identified in 1998, orthorexia shares a variety of symptoms with obsessive compulsive disorder and with the other eating disorders. Learn more.
Many people do not fit strictly into one category of eating disorder. OSFED is a diagnosis that include characteristics and symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, but the symptomatic behaviors do not fit specifically into one the primary diagnoses. Even so, OSFED is just as serious as a primary eating disorder diagnosis: The behaviors take up a disproportionate amount mental and emotional energy and steal from areas of life. People with OSFED are just as likely to die as a result of their eating disorder as people with primary eating disorder diagnosis.
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