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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week Highlights Need for Treatment

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Mental health treatment is at the forefront of the news again thanks to this week being National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The mission of the founders of awareness week is “to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.”

A great aspect of how they get their message across is by focusing on educating the public that eating disorders are not a choice, but in fact are serious, complicated, life-threatening illnesses that require focused mental health treatment to recover from. They also urge individuals to “recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder,” as their campaign slogan states, everybody knows somebody who’s suffered from an eating disorder. We at Destination Hope: The Women’s Program are going to take this opportunity to delve deeper into the world of the deadliest of all the eating disorders, anorexia nervosa.

What Is Anorexia?

An individual with anorexia has an overwhelming fear of gaining weight. They obsess about food and their food intake constantly and limit what they’ll eat regardless of how thin they already are. But there’s a lot more to anorexia than just not eating enough. Anorexics typically use starving themselves as a way to feel in control of their own life and to try and ease tension, anger and anxiety they experience. This is why anorexia and eating disorders in general are considered to be psychological illnesses and therefore require mental health treatment.

How You Can Tell If a Loved One Is Suffering From Anorexia

There are a great many signs one can look for if they fear that someone in their life has developed anorexia. For starters, they may appear very thin. In addition, they will often go to extreme measures to lose weight and become thinner including the following methods:

  • Making themselves throw up
  • Taking laxatives
  • Taking diet pills
  • Not eating or eating very little
  • Exercising excessively, regardless of injury or exhaustion
  • Weighing food and counting calories
  • Eating very small amounts of only certain foods
  • Moving food around the plate rather than eating it
See also  Binge Eating Disorder & Addiction

Anorexia and Addiction

Mental health treatment specialists have known for years about the co-occurring psychological illnesses of addiction and eating disorders. The link is so strong that an estimated 35 percent of substance abusers also suffer from an eating disorder, and an estimated 50 percent of individuals with eating disorders also suffer from drug and alcohol abuse. It is generally believed that these disorders co-occur for two reasons. The first being that individuals with eating disorders like anorexia will often abuse substances like cocaine and heroin to help keep their weight down, suppress their appetite and speed up their metabolism. The second being that individuals will sometimes try and self-medicate their negative feelings about themselves and their poor body image with drugs and alcohol.

Mental Health Treatment in Florida

Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse issues and the myriad of co-occurring illnesses like anorexia and other eating disorders. Our experienced counseling team partnering with our staff nutritionist can provide you with the mental health treatment you need to recover. If there’s a woman in your life who’s abusing drugs and alcohol in an effort to lose weight or self-medicate the negative feelings away, please get in contact with us today. You don’t have to be a slave to how you think you’re supposed to look anymore.

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