Why Are You So Skinny?
Almost everyone has a time in their life when they feel it would be a good idea to drop a few pounds. The person loses a few pounds and their life goes on as normal.
For someone suffering with anxiety and/or depression, losing a few pounds may not be that simple. Research shows that eating disorders and mood disorders often go hand-in-hand.
People with these disorders already think differently and are often perfectionists, which means they may not stop at a few pounds. Anxiety and depression are often triggered when a person feels like he or she is not good enough or worries about the opinions of others. This quest for perfection can lead to eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia.
What Are the Signs of an Eating Disorder?
The signs of an eating disorder can vary. However, there are some “red flag” behaviors for which to be alert:
- Making excuses for not eating
- Excessively exercising
- Leaving during a meal to use the restroom
- Excessively focusing on health eating
- Withdrawing from normal social activities
- Constantly complaining about being overweight and needing to lose weight
You can watch for these signs as well as a significant change in appearance due excessive weight loss.
How to Approach Someone with an Eating Disorder?
If you believe someone you care about has an eating disorder, there are ways to approach them and bring up the issue so that it doesn’t cause further problems. Before intervening, make sure you have clear evidence that a problem exists.
When you do approach the person, do so non-judgmentally and expect the person to be defensive. Remain empathetic and remember that this person is dealing with anxiety and depression — which they feel they can’t control — so they turn to anorexia or other eating disorders that they can control.
Even if the person refuses to go to the doctor, you should learn as much as you can about the disorder, how best to talk to the person, and what treatment options are available.
What Treatments Are Available for Eating Disorders?
If someone you love is dealing with a mood disorder and an eating disorder, the two must be treated together to help that person combat both issues.
Medication is often used, but you should consider this a short-term solution. Your loved one needs to change his or her thoughts from negative to more positive thinking. People with eating disorders must work on building self-esteem and reduce worry when it comes to the judgment of others. They must realize their own self-worth.
When treating the eating disorder, they need help to change the way they think about food and eating. They are also encouraged to develop healthier eating habits.
People with an eating disorder are obsessed with the idea that they must be a certain weight to be attractive. The goal of treatment is to get the patient to reject this unattainable image and replace it with more realistic images and goals.
It can take months or even longer to fully recover from an eating disorder and anxiety or depression. It takes time to change thought and behavior patterns.
Can Eating Disorders Be Prevented?
While it may not be possible to prevent eating disorders, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of someone you love developing one.
One way to help is to talk with your children and others in your life about judging others and teach them that people come in all shape and sizes due to genetics. There is not one size or shape that is most attractive, so it’s important to accept people as they are.
Don’t label foods as bad or good. The healthiest way to eat is to take in a variety of foods in moderation. This encourages a well-balanced diet.
Encourage others to talk about their feelings and discuss what they believe is wrong with their bodies. Teach them that the pictures in magazines are altered to make the model look a certain way and that those body images are unattainable.
Like anxiety and depression, eating disorders are due to distorted thinking and poor self-esteem. You need to treat both separately to attain long-term recovery.