If you or someone you know and care about has an eating disorder, treatment is imperative. Having an eating disorder is more than just a matter of a lack of willpower. They are dangerous and can be life-threatening. A number of eating disorders exist, including anorexia (severely restricted or non-existent food intake), bulimia (purging after eating, often after binge eating), binge eating (like bulimia without purging) and binge eating's relative compulsive overeating. Other lesser known eating disorders are sports anorexia, which is a combination of severe food restriction and excessive exercise; night eating and orthorexia, which is a fixation on eating only certain foods seen as pure or proper foods. Some eating disorders are classified as eating disorders not otherwise specified when they don't fall into a specific disorder.
Eating disorders are the manifestation of a more deeply rooted problem. These problems often involve low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and/or lack of control in the person's life. These feelings often lead to self-loathing. Though it may seem an insurmountable problem, an eating disorder can be treated and recovery is a possibility. It does take work and professional help.
The first step is to consult with your primary physician. Be completely honest in communicating your symptoms so he can make the right recommendation to proceed with treatment. This will be followed by a referral to a doctor who has experience in diagnosing and treating eating disorders. This doctor may recommend inpatient treatment if the disorder has progressed to the point that outpatient treatment is not advised or noncompliance with the treatment plan exists.
Your treatment plan will involve such things as talk therapy to get to the root causing the disorder, behavioral modification therapy, consultation with a dietician, possibly keeping a journal of your daily activities and when deemed necessary, medication. Don't expect treatment to last a short time. It is not unusual for treatment to be long term as the issues relative to eating disorders are not simple to overcome. It is worth the time and effort it takes because you will be a happier and healthier person as a result.
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