There are many people, both men and women, who are affected by an eating disorder. Although women generally have more symptoms of eating disorders, no one is completely immune from the effects of an eating disorder. Here are some things you need to know about eating disorders.
What Causes An Eating Disorder?
There are many things that can initially trigger an eating disorder. Contrary to what many people think, eating disorders are not generally triggered by a body image problem. Instead, it is usually an underlying emotional or mental issue. A person may start controlling their food intake not because they start dieting, but because they need control in their life. For instance, you might see a young woman who feels like her life has gotten out of control because of the pressure to perform in something, their parent's divorce, the death of a family member, etc., start to restrict food because it is something she can control.
Conversely, you can see over eating disorders as well as under eating. Over eating is usually triggered by emotional eating. The person may be depressed and so they compensate with food and eating. By understanding that an eating disorder is almost always coupled with some emotional distress, it can help you to better treat it.
How Do You Help Someone With An Eating Disorder?
Naturally, the first thing you want to do when you have a loved one with an eating disorder is make them eat or control their food. This will hardly ever be effective and you will soon find that they are doing things to control their food. The person might vomit after eating or sneak food when no one is looking, and so forth. That is why controlling the person's diet is not the ideal way to treat an eating disorder. You need to get to the root of the issue. Therapy that focuses on the person's emotional state is an important part of treatment for an eating disorder. By determining what is making the person feel pain, lack of control, unhappiness and a myriad of other feelings, you can start to help the person heal in these areas and then you can help their relationship with food.
Once you help with the emotional side, the eating will still be a problem and won't magically get better. However, you can start to tackle the physical manifestations of an eating disorder. It will take supervision of meals, checking in, and teaching them how to eat properly again. It is a long road, but it can be done if you and your loved one seek professional help from the Center for Change eating disorder treatment center or another similar clinic.