Eating disorders are complicated illnesses that can affect your relationship with food and your body. Some of the most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
There is a common misconception that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice, but as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains, they are serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions.
To find lasting recovery from an eating disorder, it’s imperative to seek appropriate professional treatment. Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care provides an inclusive and supportive atmosphere for adults age 18 and older to receive outpatient eating disorder treatment.
Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders
The symptoms of eating disorders can vary depending on the person and the specific condition they’re struggling with. Generally speaking, though, the following are some common signs and symptoms of eating disorders:
- Frequent preoccupation with body shape or size
- Weight that fluctuates up or down
- Using the bathroom during or after meals
- Skipping meals or restricting food
- Dressing in layers to hide changes in appearance
- Severe dental concerns or teeth discoloration
- Intense focus on weight loss or dieting
- Appearing uncomfortable eating or refusing to eat in front of others
Not everyone shows the impact of an eating disorder in the same way. If you believe that any of the above eating disorder signs and symptoms describe you, it’s vital to reach out for professional help as soon as possible.
Eating Disorder Causes & Risk Factors
There is no single cause of eating disorders, but there are factors that can increase your risk for developing one of these potentially deadly conditions. Some of the most common eating disorder causes and risk factors are:
- History of excessive dieting or other weight control methods
- Being frequently bullied as a child, specifically relating to body image
- Inflexible thought patterns
- Tendency to focus on perfectionism
- History of trauma or experiencing a traumatic event
- Having an immediate family member who has an eating disorder
Effects of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can affect a person physically, socially and emotionally. They can make you feel isolated and like it’s impossible to live your best life. They can also damage your self-worth and sabotage the relationships that matter most in your life.
Other common effects of eating disorders include:
- Frequent illness or infection because of a weakened immune system
- Onset or worsening of other mental health concerns
- Inability to enjoy once meaningful activities
- Difficulty finding or maintaining employment
- Trouble positively communicating with family and friends
- Severe digestive problems due to vomiting or purging
- Suicidal ideation
If you let an eating disorder go untreated, it can be fatal. The sooner you seek help, the better your chances for preventing dangerous long-term effects of eating disorders.
Eating Disorder Statistics
The following are some widely revealing statistics about the prevalence of eating disorders, courtesy of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD):
- Eating disorders have the second-highest mortality rate of all behavioral health concerns, surpassed only by opioid addiction.
- About 28.8 million Americans, or 9% of the population, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.
- Each year, 10,200 deaths are the direct result of an eating disorder — that’s one every 52 minutes.
- Approximately 26% of people who have an eating disorder attempt suicide.
Therapies Used in Eating Disorder Treatment
By choosing Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care, you can discover the difference focused eating disorder treatment can make. You’ll receive a personalized treatment plan that zeroes in on your areas of need and highlights your strengths.
Upon admission to our outpatient treatment place, you’ll participate in a variety of programming that includes numerous therapeutic interventions. Your eating disorder treatment plan may include:
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Medication management services
- Basic medical care
- Group therapy
During therapy sessions, you may take part in some of the following evidence-based treatment modalities, which can help you address your symptoms and focus on the most optimal outcomes:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Trauma-focused CBT
- Motivational interviewing
- Internal family systems
Benefits of Eating Disorder Treatment
Seeking professional intervention from a team of experts is an excellent first step on your eating disorder recovery journey.
There are numerous benefits to receiving care at an outpatient eating disorder treatment center. You will develop a plan to resist relapse, which can help you remain in recovery at the conclusion of treatment. You’ll also work with a team that is focused on your unique needs — how you got here, what lies at the root of your struggles and what will help you rediscover a happier life.
You can also benefit from interacting with other people who are on the path to eating disorder recovery. Group sessions offer opportunities to hear other people’s stories and develop bonds you can keep long after you leave our treatment place.
Choosing the Right Eating Disorder Treatment Center
Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing an eating disorder treatment place is finding one that will personalize your journey. At Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care, we’ll work to understand your unique needs. We’ll help you address the pain of your past and put a plan in place that will allow you to focus solely on the hope that lies ahead.
When your time with us is over, you’ll receive a detailed aftercare plan that may include information about step-down services, support groups and other ongoing care resources.
An eating disorder doesn’t have to define you. We’re here to help you find the better days you deserve.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care.