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Common Questions About Eating Disorders- Rosewood Ranch


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Title: Common Questions About Eating Disorders- Rosewood Ranch

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What triggers eating disorders?
  • Eating disorders are complex diseases. Genetics
    and a family history of eating disorders,
    personality traits such as perfectionism, and
    psychological factors such as depression,
    anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and trauma
    are all associated with eating disorders. Other
    research indicates that some people with eating
    disorders have abnormalities in brain chemicals
    that regulate mood, stress, and appetite.
  • Social factors contribute as well. Research shows
    that major life changes starting a new school,
    moving, family problems, relationship break-ups
    or the death of a loved one, may trigger eating
    disorders or make mild symptoms worse.

Im worried someone I care about has anorexia.
How can I tell if its just normal weight loss or
if they need help?
  • Anorexia has behavioral and emotional components,
    including dramatic weight loss, trying to hide
    weight loss, preoccupation with weight, food,
    calories or dieting, refusing to eat certain
    foods or whole categories of food, maintaining a
    rigid exercise routine and developing rituals
    around food (such as insisting on eating foods in
    a certain order).
  • Anorexia can also impact how people interact with
    their friends and loved ones. Irritability,
    depression, not wanting to eat in public,
    frequently looking in the mirror to look for
    perceived flaws and social withdrawal or loss of
    interest in activities once enjoyed could mean
    someone is suffering with anorexia.

My teenager is acting very secretive and
withdrawn, and seems to be spending a lot of time
in the bathroom with the water running. Could it
be bulimia?
  • People with bulimia are typically found out when
    their loved ones detect self-induced vomiting
    because of sights, sounds or smells. Clues that a
    person may have bulimia include frequently going
    to the bathroom during meals or right after
    eating, flushing the toilet multiple times,
    running tap water or the shower while in the
    bathroom to disguise the sound of vomiting,
    taking more than one shower a day to provide an
    opportunity to purge, using a lot of mouthwash or
    breath mints to hide the smell, and a raspy or
    scratchy voice.
  • Although harder for friends and family to notice,
    medical professionals may also spot damaged teeth
    and gums, swollen salivary glands in the cheeks,
    and sores in the throat and mouth. People with
    bulimia may also misuse laxatives, which they
    mistakenly believe will flush calories from the
    body, or ipecac syrup to induce vomiting. (Ipecac
    is intended to be taken after suspected

There are times that I feel out of control around
food, and terribly guilty after Ive overeaten.
Do I have binge eating disorder?
  • When people binge eat, they typically eat large
    amounts of food, rapidly, and continue even when
    full. They may eat alone, hoard food, or hide
    boxes and wrappers. After a binge, people often
    feel disgusted or ashamed by their behavior.
    People who binge eat may go on and off diets and
    go up and down in weight. Low self-esteem, social
    withdrawal and depression may also accompany
    binge eating disorder.

Can people have more than one eating disorder at
the same time?
  • Eating disorder symptoms dont always fit neatly
    into one category. For example, some people with
    anorexia also purge. Some people with bulimia may
    also exercise excessively to control their
    weight. Others may alternate between anorexia and
    bulimia. People with bulimia may also binge eat.
  • The important thing to understand is that the
    behaviors associated with eating disorders are
    often a manifestation of emotional issues. If
    someone is struggling with food, eating, body
    image, self-esteem, excessive exercise or other
    aspects of their mental health, they should
    receive help.

Can You Tell by Looking at Someone That They Have
an Eating Disorder?
  • Often you cant. People with eating disorders may
    be a normal weight or look healthy. Their
    appearance may not match the anxiety around food
    and eating they feel inside. People with eating
    disorders also often have a distorted body image.
    To an outsider, they look perfectly fine. Yet
    inside the person is preoccupied with their
    physical appearance, to the point that it is
    crowding out other thoughts.

Can Eating Disorders be Cured?
  • Eating disorders can be cured, in that people can
    fully recover and their eating disorder behaviors
    may never reoccur. Those individuals have not
    only returned to balanced eating and a healthy
    relationship with food, but they have also
    developed a positive body image, learned
    effective coping skills to deal with stress or
    anxiety, and moved past the feelings, experiences
    and fears that contributed to the problem.
  • In some people, however, even if they are no
    longer actively engaging in eating disorders
    behaviors, continue to have eating disorder
    thoughts creep in. In recovery, they have to pay
    close attention to their physical health and
    their mental health to avoid slipping back into
    dangerous habits. To help these individuals stay
    on track, ongoing therapy, connection with their
    therapeutic team and community-based support are
    crucial. Rosewood has a strong alumni program
    made of up people from all over the United States
    who get together to provide that companionship
    and encouragement to one other.

Who is Vulnerable to Eating Disorders?
  • People of any age, including boys, girls, men and
    women. The media tends to focus on adolescent
    girls and young women with eating disorders. As a
    group, they do tend to have higher rates of
    eating disorders. But about 15 of our patients
    at Rosewood are men and boys, a number that has
    steadily risen.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community are also
    vulnerable to eating disorders. Struggles with
    coming out, gender expression and school or
    workplace bullying are thought to be contributing
    factors. These experiences can lead anxiety,
    depression, low self-esteem and trauma-related
    issues, which are known to be associated with the
    development of eating disorders.

How Can I talk to Someone If I Suspect They Have
an Eating Disorder?
  • Being confronted about an eating disorder can be
    difficult for someone to hear. Choose a time when
    you can speak privately, when youre calm and
    when your family member or friend isnt overly
    stressed. Explain your concern and give examples
    of specific situations and behaviors that worry
    you. Dont take it personally if the person you
    care about lies about their behavior or becomes
    defensive. This is a very common reaction. Being
    found out may feel threatening to them. Be
    patient, and supportive, and let them know help
    is available.

  • If you have more questions about eating
    disorders, contact Rosewood at 844-335-0871. We
    can provide information about eating disorders,
    advice on next steps and a confidential