Resources


Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a complex illness that permeates through all aspects of a sufferer’s life and is caused by a number of emotional factors and influences. It is estimated that approximately ten million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders. Most sufferers are females, however, the incidence of males with eating disorders is on the rise. Weight really has nothing to do with determining if someone has an eating disorder. It also does not indicate how much danger they may be in. Behaviors, self-esteem, psychological and physical health determine if someone suffers. Everyone should take eating disorders seriously. Of all psychological illnesses, they pose the greatest risk of death. They are not “diets out of control” as previously thought in past generations, but complex emotional and psychological disorders where sufferers use the behaviors as a way to cope with emotional issues and low self-esteem.

 

Forms of Eating Disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa

Diagnostic Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa

(Remember, this is the text book definition and does not represent what a sufferer feels or experiences while living with the illness)

  • Low body weight: Less than 85% of expected and/or appropriate weight.
  • Calorie restriction or excessive exercise.
  • Weight fear: Extreme fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, despite being underweight.
  • Body Image Distortion: Distorted view of one’s body weight or shape, excessive influence of body weight/shape on self-evaluation, denial of medical seriousness of low body weight.
  • Amenorrhea: The absence of three or more consecutive menstrual cycles (for women who have reached puberty).

Forms of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Restricting Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the sufferer has not regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)
  • Binge-Eating Type or Purging Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the sufferer has regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)

Bulimia Nervosa

Diagnostic Criteria for Bulimia Nervosa

(Remember, this is the text book definition and does not represent what a sufferer feels or experiences while living with the illness)

  • Binge eating: Recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes.
  • Compensatory behavior: Participating in inappropriate activities in order to prevent weight gain including self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or medications, excessive exercise, or fasting.
  • Frequency and Duration: The binge eating and compensatory behavior both occur, on average, two or more times a week for three months.
  • Body Image: Self-evaluation is based mostly on body shape and weight.
  • Patient may be normal weight, underweight, or overweight.

Forms of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Purging Type: During the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the sufferer has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas
  • Binge-Eating Type or Purging Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the sufferer has regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified

Designation for individuals who meet some but not all of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa.

Binge Eating

Criteria for Binge Eating

(Remember, this is the text book definition and does not represent what a sufferer feels or experiences while living with the illness)

  • Binge Eating: Recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes.
  • Binge eating¬†episodes are associated with at least three of the following characteristics:
    • Eating more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or feeling very guilty after overeating
    • Distress: Feelings of distress over binge eating episodes
  • Frequency and Duration: The binge eating occurs, on average, two or more times a week for six months
  • No Compensatory Behaviors: The binge eating episodes are not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as purging, fasting, excessive exercise, or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas

Compulsive Overeating

Criteria for Compulsive Overeating

(Remember, this is the text book definition and does not represent what a sufferer feels or experiences while living with the illness)

Compulsive Overeating is a form of disordered eating and while it does not have an official DSM diagnosis, it is a serious problem for many people. It is characterized as an “addiction” to food. Sufferers use food as a means to hide from their emotions, to handle everyday stresses in their lives, and to fill some void within themselves.

People who suffer from this form of disordered eating are typically overweight and are usually aware that their eating patterns are abnormal. They often find little comfort, however, due to society’s tendency to stereotype the “overweight” individual. Compulsive Overeaters sometimes hide behind their physical appearance, using it as a shield against society. They may feel guilty for not being “good enough” or shame for being overweight. Like other eating disorder and disordered eating sufferers, compulsive overeaters generally have low self-esteem and use food and eating to cope with these feelings and emotions.

Factors that contribute to the development of Eating Disorders:

  • Sociocultural Factors
  • Cultural norms that place emphasis on physical appearance and thinness and not on inner strengths.
  • Cultural definitions of beauty that are extremely narrow
  • Persistent media messages encouraging dieting
  • Interpersonal Factors
  • Difficulty identifying and expressing one’s feelings
  • Family disharmony and troubled relationships
  • A history of being ridiculed based on size or weight
  • A history of being sexually or physically abused
  • Family factors such as obesity in the family or parental preoccupation with eating and weight
  • Biological and Biochemical Factors
  • Family history of eating disorders
  • Family history of depression or anxiety
  • Researchers are still investigating chemical imbalances in the brain that control hunger, appetite, and digestion

Complications associated with Eating Disorder Behaviors:

  • Malnutrition
  • Electrolyte Abnormalities
  • Esophageal Reflux
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Amenorrhea
  • Dry Skin and Hair
  • Temperature Sensitivity
  • Slowness of Thought
  • Erosion of Teeth and Gums
  • Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
  • Stunted Growth in Adolescents

 

  • Infertility
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart Attacks
  • Strokes
  • Abnormal Liver Functioning
  • Anemia
  • Decreased Estrogen or Testosterone
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Abnormal Blood Pressure
  • Shrinkage of the Brain
  • Death

 

Eating Disorders Support Group

Free and open to the public

New group members must be screened first. Please call Caryn or Tessa at 713-622-6422 or contact us here.

Monday Nights 5:30p.m.-6:30 p.m.

5959 West Loop South
Suite 260
Bellaire,Texas 77401

713-622-6422