Food is a source of sustenance and comfort. It forms the basis of community celebrations and is the foundation of holidays and family gatherings. For all of its positive associations, food can be an adverse substance that is used as a substitute treatment for stress, depression, anxiety, and a host of other psychological and social disorders. People who suffer from eating disorders develop an unhealthy relationship with food that ultimately harms them both physically and psychologically.
At one end of the spectrum, a person can develop an unhealthy aversion to food with an anorexia or bulimia disorder. Individuals might develop these disorders through attempts to control their body images. Anorexia and bulimia can lead to electrolyte imbalances, weak musculoskeletal systems, fatigue, and other metabolic disorders. At the opposite spectrum end, a person might use food as a salve to ease the pain or discomfort associated with depression or anxiety. In this latter instance, a person will consume far more food than is required to maintain normal metabolic processes through binge eating disorder, leading to obesity and accompanying risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other gastric disorders.
Eating disorders typically arise out of a combination of biological, psychological, social, and interpersonal causes and factors. A biochemical imbalance, for example, might numb that part of a person’s brain that tells him when he has eaten enough. From a psychological perspective, low self-esteem, anger, stress, depression, and loss of control can drive a person to seek comfort from food. A person who has experienced a failed relationship or a career displacement might tell himself that he deserves a food binge. Alternately, a person might blame a failed relationship on his or her body image, and might then seek to control that image by severely limiting food intake. Friends or family members who make well-intentioned comments about a person’s weight gain or loss will only add fuel to the eating disorder fire.
These disorders inevitably lead to physical health problems and potential long-term disability or fatalities. The disorder itself is a problem, and the underlying causes of the disorder continue to erode the health and mental stability of the individual who suffers from it.
Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness. Affecting the mind, destroying the body, and breaking the spirit, the treatment of eating disorders must include mind, body, and spirit. Cottonwood Tucson offers an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders which has gained international recognition and critical acclaim for clinical excellence. Call us today for more information: (800) 877-4520