Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Cure For Eating Disorder

For many, food is life. In fact, eating is the common denominator in gatherings and events. It is one of the most vital aspects of our daily lives. However, for some, food consumption may not always be a delightful act when one’s eating habits become considered a disorder.

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Having an eating disorder means that a person’s eating habits are irregular, inadequate, or excessive. This manner of eating may be damaging to one’s health, well-being, and even one’s self-esteem. Due to this disorder, the individual may become overly concerned with regards to his or her weight and shape. Three main types of this disorder include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

 

Additionally, having an eating disorder sometimes also comes with other mental illnesses such as anxiety and substance abuse. In worst case scenarios, a severe eating disorder may even result in the immense destruction of the body which may result in death. Thus, it is essential to cure an eating disorder once the symptoms arise. One of the leading therapy treatments for the eating disorder is cognitive behavior therapy.

During CBT, patients have the opportunity to work with a therapist to find the source of negative thinking and transform those thoughts into a positive, growth mindset. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy is a psychological therapeutic approach acknowledging issues which involve cognitive and behavioral factors. These factors will only result in a cycle of negativism within one’s self.

 

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Thus, this approach helps an individual recognize his or her behavior and habits and strives to create a strategic plan to improve his or her unwanted and injurious behavior by also tapping into one’s cognitive issues. Most often, one’s thoughts and emotions play a pivotal role in the person’s health and in the habits that they perform.

 

Through the cognitive behavior model, the eating disorder may be eased through identifying and addressing both the cognitive and behavioral factors that cause the disorder.

 

Regarding the cognitive element, an individual may tend to be overly anxious about his or her self-worth, value, weight, and physical appearance. On the other hand, the behavioral factor will show that potentially due to this anxiety, the individual will intensely focus on body appearance resulting to a massive constriction of his or her diet or it may turn into an excessive consumption of food due to stress and pressure.

 

Thus, through the Cognitive Behavior Therapy, a patient will undergo three phases to address these issues.

It is quite possible that the false self is really doing an ok job at being the true self through the symptoms of an eating disorder. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Phases Of Cognitive Behavior Therapy For Curing Eating Disorder

  1. Behavioral Phase

In this phase, tools and strategies will be maximized to manage the individual’s feelings and emotions that often lead to unhealthy behavior. A plan will be formulated to develop new behaviors that would eliminate the unusual eating habits. You can achieve this plan by providing activities and homework during and after the session.

 

  1. Cognitive Phase

In this phase, the contrary ideas and thoughts that trigger the irregular eating habits are determined and identified. These thoughts often include concerns about one’s physical appearance, weight, and image. Upon recognizing these, a method to restructure one’s thinking patterns into more positive and refreshed thoughts will be introduced. Through this phase, an individual’s mindset will be strengthened to be more positive and accepting of one’s self.

 

  1. Maintenance And Relapse Prevention Phase

One of the primary goals of Cognitive behavioral therapy is to allow the individual to be once again healthy. Thus, more sessions and activities will be performed to identify underlying and broader issues and conflicts that may eventually cause the individual to return to the old habits. Monitoring the performance of new behaviors will also be performed through constant communication after the sessions.

 

For more information on the benefits of behavioral therapy, check this out: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/benefits-of-behavioral-therapy/.

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Eating is usually an activity that involves joyous conversations, gratitude, and fond memories. Thus, to maintain a healthy eating diet and habit, it is best always to keep a positive mindset and to be mindful of symptoms that might be leading to an eating disorder. Moreover, weight and physical appearances may be of importance, but one might always keep in mind that it is not and should not be a determinant for one’s value and self-worth.

 

 

How My Counselor Contributes A Lot To My Healthy Eating Habit

Ever since I gained weight, I was in the realm of denial. I always believe that eating a lot was part of my life that I could never control. I always instilled in my head that it was the only thing that can make me happy. But not until I was diagnosed with many medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, liver damage, obesity, and God knows what else is out there. After the struggle with a bunch of physical pain, I realized I couldn’t do a lot. I experienced pressure and tons of restrictions which quite kind of me to extensive emotional and mental instability.

The fact that I couldn’t see it was more damaging than I thought. I was so focused on what-ifs and tried working it all out all by myself. I honestly do not know what to do because the more I tried controlling my eating habit, the more it backfired at me. So to address the complicated situation, I straightened up my head and went to seek professional help. It was about time.

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Counselor’s Advice

My counselor said that one of the simplest reasons I may be overeating is that I am distracted. I was confused about understanding that statement because I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me. My counselor elaborated that when I am distracted eating, I am not fully aware of the experience of eating my food. She said I was not enjoying it to the extreme that I only eat because I feel like it and not because my hunger strikes or my body needs it. With that, I struggled to identify my fullness level and what amount of food actually satisfies me.

The counselor explained that the distraction always takes place when I am not concentrating on eating and doing a lot of stuff at the same time instead. Usually, that was where I watched TV, used my phone, drove my car, or worked on my computer. She even said that when I am also ruminating thoughts in my mind, I could eat a lot because I won’t know if I am full or not, which is entirely true at that point.

To address that distraction issue, my counselor gave a piece of advice to remove all those things that take up so much of my attention when eating. She said I should consciously enjoy my food and know how much I want to eat it. At first, it was unusual because I was not used to thinking that I should enjoy eating food. But when I started focusing on what’s on the table and not thinking about anything, I realized that I genuinely appreciate how food makes me feel. Everything about how the food I eat tastes, smells, and looks made me understand my hunger cues.

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Emotional Eating And The Effect Of The Environment

The process of changing my eating habit didn’t stop there because as much as I want to fully incorporates a mindful-eating lifestyle, my emotions often get in the way. I explained to my counselor that despite my effort in putting away all the distractions aside, I can’t still make it when my emotions are out of control. Sometimes boredom takes all the effort and energy out of me. And let’s not talk about anxiety and stress, which happened to be the number one source of my negative eating behavior.

The thing I understand that I was doing wrong is relying on comforting foods that are unhealthy. You can’t blame me, though. Having pizza, burger, and fries in the middle of the night made me feel relaxed and happy. But again, those are detrimental to my overall well-being, and eating tons of food when I know I shouldn’t be my sweet escape.

Another thing she said that affects my eating behavior aside from the emotional factors is the environment. Seriously, I was not expecting that to be an issue. But she explained that environmental triggers are unavoidable sometimes. It was those situations that put me in a position where there is no available refusal. And that even if I know, I shouldn’t grab a can of soda or eat a lot of junk foods, the situation often calls for it. Usually, I can’t control it when I go out with friends, went to a bar, visit my relatives’ house, etc. Therefore, it becomes challenging to remember to check in with the food I should and shouldn’t consume.

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Insight

When I realized the mistakes I made in my eating habits, I tried to change my lifestyle but tried not to overdo it. My counselor said that I should still be compassionate with myself, so as much as possible, I practiced mindfulness eating to explore the root cause of my eating disorder. So far, I am more than thankful for realizing the mistakes I made, and I am now trying to get better at managing my disorder.

 

Counseling Guide In Knowing The Sings Of Eating Disorder

An eating disorder affects millions of people, and they couldn’t tell it most of the time. Usually, the problem begins during adolescence because food, eating, self-image, and body weight are a big deal for most individuals at this stage. It becomes a significant source of stress, anxiety, and depression, making them experience distorted thinking and behavior that negatively impacts their lives. In some unfortunate instances, the distorted thoughts and actions become out of control that people make life-threatening decisions.

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When food is more than just a portion of food, things change. It can potentially cause a very serious mental illness. One of the deadliest and common eating disorders is anorexia nervosa. The condition gets diagnosed when people restrict food intake more than they have to. It usually starts with a simple diet that makes individuals lose weight until they reach an unhealthy or below body mass. Unfortunately, the psychological problem starts to appear when people couldn’t see the drastic changes in their physical appearance and continue to ignore the obvious damage of food restrictions in the mind and body.

Another eating disorder is called binge eating. People eat large amounts of food in an extremely short amount of time, leaving no room for the body to process digestion. They have no control over their desire to eat anything. In some unfortunate cases, some people with the condition do not know how to stop despite feeling sick about constantly putting stuff in their mouths. People who experience this mental health condition also suffer from medical health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.

Apart from anorexia and binge eating disorder, there is also one that people know a lot about. It is bulimia nervosa. It is almost the same as binge eating. But when people realized they had eaten a lot of thought that their eating actions are too much, they compensate through purging behaviors. That explains why most of them end up using too many amounts of laxatives, intentionally putting fingers down their throat to vomit, and excessively exercise without the intention of resting until they get satisfied. As a result, people struggle with other health problems such as dehydration, sore throat, and stomach complications.

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What Causes People To Get This Far?

The act of being in control of something can make people feel great. That sense of control over their mind and body makes it unable for them to see the truth and deny the health problems they are going through despite experiencing the symptoms of other serious medical conditions such as bone, skin, muscles, and heart problems. People with eating disorders have a pretty unrealistic perception of what they currently look like. Thus, they need to wrap it up and figure out the signs of their eating disorders.

Withdrawing From Meal Time – It is sometimes okay not to feel hungry because the body sometimes needs to adapt to people’s daily routine changes. However, they have to pay attention to their behavior when it comes to the avoidance of food. It is not okay not to put something into the stomach as the mind and body need the energy to sustain strength and mental alertness.

Excessive Exercise – There is always something wrong when people work excessively, and exercising is not exempted. Though some would say that it can be great for helping physical, mental, and emotional health, exercising excessively can still mean something else. As for this case, it can be associated with an eating disorder when people do it out of the ordinary only to support an unrealistic body image.

Refusing To Eat Certain Food – Refusing to eat certain types of food can be tricky and might not count as a sign of an eating disorder. That is because people sometimes refuse to eat, perhaps due to existing medical conditions such as allergies; however, if the eating habits occur instantly where people decided not to eat some of the food they once like, it can be a sign of something mentally unhealthy.

Constant Calorie Counting – When people are on a diet or want to maintain a physically fit body, they opt to count calories. Admittedly, not all individuals know the importance of calorie counting. Therefore, they somehow understand the amount of food their body needs. However, it becomes a problem when it gets out of hand and turns out to be an obsession. Calorie counting associated with the intense desire to get a specific result could be a significant component of an unnoticed eating disorder.

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Takeaway

Eating disorders are complicated mental health conditions that are often go unnoticed. Thus, people experiencing these signs and symptoms should seek help immediately. They have to work extensively with their dieticians or treatment team and develop the best solution as much as possible.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Foods That Fight Depression

People seem to have a lot of opinions about everything going on in the world. Some would go as far as digging dirt on other people and making it a big deal at present. That is especially true about racial or gender discrimination. However, most people seem to forget that, aside from gender and race, individuals also get discriminated against because of their size.

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Living As A Fat Person

When I was in elementary school, I was called the fattest kid in my class. I was already over 100 pounds during fourth grade, after all. When I reached the sixth grade, I became130 pounds. Then, I managed to maintain that weight until I went to college and suddenly became 180 pounds.

I knew I grew really big at the time. Despite that, I was not one of those people who tried every single diet or pill or tea out there to lose weight. I would credit that to the fact that I had years to deal with the fact that I was not a slender person. I would never be the model material that everyone admired or at least be able to wear a size 0. I did not easily get hurt, even when some folks would joke about me taking up two seats in the train or making the earth shake whenever I walked across a hallway. I promised myself that I would never let them get to me for as long as I lived.

What Made Me Break My Promise, You Might Ask?

Well, when you are a young adult and a  fat girl like me, you would most likely want to change for a guy. At least that’s what happened to me.

I was already in my fourth year in college back then. I only had one more semester to go before I could be an adult and live independently.

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At that point, I still never had a boyfriend. I held myself in such high regard. I always said that I would never change myself for anyone. If A guy wanted me, then he would want all of me – fats and all.

One day, a cute guy in the university named Marcus showed interest in me all of a sudden. He majored in business management while I majored in finance, so we would sometimes cross paths during lectures and other inter-department activities.

I had always harbored a little crush on Marcus since freshman year, but I never told anyone that. It was mostly due to shame and worry that people would think that I was too idealistic for hoping that he would like me back. I had seen Marcus date girls who were my exact opposite –  you know, skinny, blonde, and… not very smart. So, imagine my surprise when Marcus appeared on my side when I was walking to one of my classes.

Marcus started talking to me like we had known each other for years. He wanted to know how I was doing, where I was going, and all the other basic stuff. From there, we became instant friends.

My attraction towards Marcus grew when he never commented about my body or my eating habits. Despite that, being around him made me self-conscious to the extent that I decided to enroll at a local gym and hire a dietitian to lose a significant amount of weight. Who knows, once I became a size 6, Marcus might like me, right?

But I did not need to wait for that long since Marcus asked me to be his girlfriend a month later. Out of excitement, I did not second guess his intentions and said yes to him immediately. Unfortunately, we had only been dating for a month when I found out that Marcus got close to me because of an ongoing bet that he had with his friends about how fast he could make me fall for him.

Deeply humiliated, I began eating as if there was no tomorrow. I would not have stopped if my friends did not get in the way. They barged into my room with a big box and dropped all my food there. I protested, but they did not listen. They told me that I was depressed over a silly excuse for a man.

“If you genuinely want to eat, eat something that can lessen your depression!” my friend exclaimed.

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What food is a natural antidepressant? 

Banana is a natural antidepressant.

What foods are good for mental health? 

    • Citrus fruits
    • Dark green vegetables
    • Eggs
    • Legumes and nuts
    • Salmon

Do bananas help with depression? 

Yes, bananas help with depression, thanks to the protein called tryptophan than it contains. When it enters the body, it can transform into serotonin, which is a mood-lifting brain chemical.

Are eggs good for depression? 

Yes, eggs are good for depression, considering they contain essential nutrients like vitamin D, omega-3, and various amino acids.

Does B12 help with depression? 

Yes, vitamin B12 helps with depression. Studies show that people who get diagnosed with this disorder have low levels of this particular vitamin.

What is the best natural antidepressant? 

St. John’s wort is the best natural antidepressant.

What vitamins help with depression? 

    • Vitamin B
    • Omega-3
    • Vitamin D

What can I take instead of antidepressants? 

You can take vitamins instead of antidepressants.

What vitamin is a natural antidepressant? 

Vitamin B is a natural antidepressant.

What is a happy pill for depression? 

Prozac is a well-known happy pill for depression.

What vitamins help with anxiety? 

    • Omega-3
    • Magnesium
    • Multivitamins
    • Vitamin B complex
    • Vitamin D
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How can I increase serotonin and dopamine naturally? 

    • Consume a lot of legumes and lean meat. Velvet beans can also do the trick, but you need to eat them in moderation.
    • Avoid consuming too many dairy products.
    • Take probiotics.
    • Listen to instrumental songs.
    • Try meditating.
    • Stay under the sun for less than an hour daily.

What is the fastest way to increase dopamine? 

Exercising is the fastest way to increase your dopamine level. The fewer toxins you have in the body, the more you can feel light and happy.

What foods are high in serotonin? 

    • Eggs
    • Lean meat
    • Nuts
    • Pineapples
    • Salmon

What supplements help with motivation?

    • Curcumin
    • Magnesium
    • Probiotics
    • Vitamin D

Final Thoughts

It hurt to be a laughingstock in other people’s eyes for a while. I honestly thought of putting Marcus in a headlock one evening just to hurt him back. However, thanks to my friends, I realized that he was not worth my tears and effort. There would be many Marcuses globally, and I would only feed their satisfaction by reacting to them.

I went back to the gym started eating healthy to lose weight. This time, it was for my own health, not because I wanted to please anyone.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Right Good Foods For Depression

Depression is one of the most known serious mental health issues that not everyone talks about. It is as if topics including this particular psychological problem are way too invalidated that people often do not see the importance of knowing and learning more information about it. You can’t blame them, though. Depression is a silent killer that people often think they can handle perfectly alone and sometimes without professional help. In fact, some individuals happen to manage it without a hassle. These people focus on changing their lifestyles and sticking to a healthy routine. But how are they doing that? What are the lifestyle considerations these mentally strong individuals need to lay on the line to get better? Let’s figure out the answers to these frequently asked questions.

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What are the best foods for depression?

Many foods contain vitamins and minerals which act as an antidepressant. Some of these include oysters and mussels, other seafood, dark leafy greens, lettuce, lean organ meats, and peppers. Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are part of the list. Focus on eating more vegetables and fruits and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Nuts, legumes, and seeds such as beans and lentils, are also good for the brain.

 What foods are good for mental health?

Changing your nutrition and dietary habits can be a great addition to overall wellness. Thus, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, helps improve mental health. Also, dark green leafy vegetables are brain-protective, including nuts, seeds and beans, and lentils.

 What food is a natural antidepressant?

Foods that naturally act as an antidepressant and boost serotonin levels are Salmon, Milk, Soy products, Nuts, Spinach, Seeds, Poultry, and Eggs. Experts and health professionals recommend these foods because they contain important vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids that protect and help brain development.

 What foods are good for serotonin levels?

The foods that might increase serotonin levels include Cheese, Tofu, Turkey, Eggs, Pineapples, Salmon, Nuts, and seeds. But before consuming too much of these, make sure to consult your doctor. Any changes in your diet might have an impact on your overall health. And regardless if these foods can significantly boost your blood plasma and serotonin levels, a piece of advice would be a great help.

 What is the best natural antidepressant?

Several natural antidepressants that help in lifting your mood, especially when you are experiencing mild to moderate depression, include Omega-3 fatty acids, Saffron, Folate, Zinc, and St. John’s wort. You can also try eating foods that contain vitamins B and D. Also, if there is a chance that you can help yourself, consider working on some natural relief such as meditation, breathing exercises, taking a nap, or hydration.

 How can I increase my serotonin levels quickly?

You can increase your serotonin levels quickly if you focus on providing yourself with healthy foods. Some of these are fruits and vegetables containing vitamins and minerals and seafood abundant with omega-3 fatty acids. Also, consider taking supplements to increase the body’s immune system and serotonin levels. It would help if you also exerted an effort in exercising to increase brain and body development.

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 What foods give you happy hormones?

The foods that give you happy hormones are meats with low-fat content, eggs, yogurt, beans, and almonds. These are foods known to support the right amount of dopamine release. Meanwhile, foods high in tryptophan, such as kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut, are also part of the list. These foods help with the increase of serotonin levels in the brain.

 What foods make you fat?

The foods that contribute a lot to weight gain are sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats, unprocessed red meats, potato chips, and other potatoes.

 How can I make my brain happy?

There are tons of ways to remember how to make your brain happy. You can start by practicing gratitude. Being thankful for everything you have right now allows you to have a positive mindset. Also, help yourself to memorize a list of happy words. That way, you can think of better ways to handle your stressors instead of drowning yourself with uncertainties. Learning to celebrate your successes, even the small ones, also helps. Spend a few minutes each day appreciating yourself and everything around you.

 What can I eat to improve my mood?

The foods you can eat to improve my mood instantly include Coffee, Berries, Oats, Bananas, Fatty fish, Fermented foods, Nuts and seeds, and Dark chocolate.

But before indulging more in these foods, you might want to check with your doctor for recommendations. Be mindful of taking care of the possibility of allergic reactions. Always pay attention to what you eat and make sure everything is enough and not too much.

 What foods are good for female hormones?

The foods that are good for female hormones are Dried Fruit, Garlic, Soybeans, Sesame Seeds, Hummus, Flax Seeds, and Tofu.

 What foods make you sleepy?

Dairy foods contain a sleep-promoting substance called tryptophan. Other good sources of foods that can make you sleepy include bananas, honey, nuts and seeds, and eggs.

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Insight

Depression promotes a disrupted emotional and mental state. It leaves people unaware of their capabilities, behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Yes, some people can perfectly handle it with the help of self-care. Thus, they provide a maximum consideration on the habits they do regularly, such as exercise, meditation, hydration, good night’s sleep, and a healthy diet. But in some cases, this self-help is not enough. Depression can reach a state where it impacts self-judgment, emotional reaction, and logical thinking. When that happens, people lose control over their lives as mental health affects their self-awareness, relationships, and community involvement. It is entirely important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms to seek medical advice. Please be aware that a full recovery from depression starts with acknowledging its existence.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Depression in People With Eating Disorders

 

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Eating disorders frequently start with the best intentions – a longing to lose weight and manage to eat appropriately. However, those great intentions go badly in some individuals, leading to binge eating, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and other disorders.

Why some are at a higher risk for eating disorders is unclear, but studies reveal that depression is almost always a factor. In another study by experts at the Pittsburgh Medical Center, more than 20% of bipolar patients met eating disorders standards. Over 40% had difficulty controlling the way they eat.

As many as 50% of individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder have a past medical history of depression. This was documented by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Almost 5% of adults in America are afflicted with binge eating, making it the most common type of eating disorder.

Depression also affects a lot of people with anorexia nervosa, another prevalent eating disorder. Those with anorexia are unable to eat sufficiently to keep a healthy weight. The outcomes can be terrible. Studies found that anorexics are almost 50 times more inclined to experience suicidal ideations and self-harm than the general population.

Eating Disorders And Depression

Depression may cause eating disorders to develop, but there is also rising proof that eating disorders can lead to depression. Being extremely malnourished and emaciated, which is a typical feature of anorexia, could result in physiological alterations that negatively impact one’s mood. Depression in people diagnosed with eating disorders commonly has its distinct characteristics.

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Here are more details regarding depression and how it does to one’s body and mental health.

   

What is the number 1 cause of depression?

Experts suggest that depression does not arise from merely having too little or too many particular brain chemicals. Instead, many potential factors cause depression, including existing medical conditions, genetic predisposition, improper mood regulation, medications taken, and stressful life situations.

What happens to your body when you are sad?

When you are depressed, your body experiences increased pains and aches, resulting in approximately 2 of 3 individuals diagnosed with depression. You will also most likely have a loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, and a reduced interest in sex.

What age group has the highest rate of depression?

Major depression is highly likely to impact individuals between 45 and 65 years old. This range, which includes middle-aged individuals, is at the bell curve’s peak for depressive symptoms. However, those at the end of each turn, such as the very old and the very young, maybe at an even heightened risk for developing severe depression.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with?

The National Institute of Health describes borderline personality disorder or BPD as a severe mental health disorder marked by a structure of continuing instability in self-image, function, behavior, and constant mood instabilities.

Which race has the highest rate of depression?

Major depression was most widespread among the Hispanics, which accounted for almost 11%, followed by African Americans, nearly 9%, and finally, the Whites, which accounted for almost 8%. The likelihood of depression among the older Hispanic group was more than 40% greater than the Whites.

What country is the most suicidal?

The country reported to be the most suicidal in the whole world is Greenland, following its years of transformation from an isolated state to a welfare state. The male-to-female ratio is 2.99.

Which country has the most suicidal deaths in 2019?

The countries with the top suicide death rates across the globe include Russia, Lithuania, Guyana, and, finally, South Korea. Suicide rates of males are higher compared to females in a lot of countries. But predictably, Lithuania, a country with the highest suicide numbers overall, also has the highest suicide numbers for males.

How does race affect depression?

Depression and the factors related to depression were more common among individuals belonging to the minority groups than Whites. Increased depression rates among these groups are most likely related to greater health problems and lack of insurance coverage, which are factors that are open to public policy involvement.

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Treatment

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and medication have distinct pros and cons, specialists agree. Medications can be easily taken, and their effects usually show up relatively fast.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the contrary, may take a longer time to see results. Most patients need about three to six months of ongoing therapy. Others require even more. But CBT provides a more reliable permanent cure.

When people suddenly stop taking their medications, they are more inclined to relapse than cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s not surprising, though. The issue with medications is that when you don’t take them anymore, it’s gone. With CBT, you can constantly alter the way patients see themselves and their surroundings. This type of perceptual change can be particularly beneficial for people with eating disorders accompanied by depression.

Specifically for binge eating and bulimia, a combination of medications and CBT may work more efficiently. In a trial done on 30 subjects with binge eating disorder, experts at the Sacco Hospital in Italy discovered that getting both CBT and drugs like Topamax and sertraline lost weight and decreased their bingeing behavioral patterns.

Customizing treatments to patients is useful. Some are responsive to medications, while others are not. Still, some do well with various types of counseling, including nutritional counseling. Other people require intensive therapy to make changes in the way they perceive food and eating. Treatment is frequently a matter of hit or miss. Certainly, experts are testing a range of cognitive-behavioral therapies especially developed for eating disorders.

 

Seeking Help

There is no magic pill for managing eating disorders accompanied by depression. Even rigorous research program rates have dramatically dropped. Patients who have been doing well for some time often go into a period of relapse.

Still, experts agree that there are many things that we can do to manage underlying depression and change people’s mindsets about themselves and how they see food. The first and most important step is to find a mental health professional or a psychiatrist in particular who has extensive knowledge and experience in deal with eating disorders. Consequently, a person’s success depends on his commitment to change.

 

 

 

The Link Between Eating Disorders And Mental Health

An eating disorder affects as many as 30 million people in the US. But it is only when the illness has progressed past a certain point do patients seek and get the help they need. Too little, we realize that eating disorders are complex mental health problems that take a heavy psychological and emotional toll before they manifest on a physical level. 

People struggling with eating disorders set unrealistic targets about their food intake, body image, and weight. The self-destructive path that they choose to achieve these unrealistic goals affects their behavior, thoughts, and emotions, which has a knock-on effect on relationships with family and friends.

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Emotional Upheaval

Take anorexia nervosa, for instance. People with this eating disorder have an intense fear of gaining weight, and they take extreme measures to prevent it through self-starvation. Some individuals set strict eating limits, while others consume large amounts of food and purge it through unhealthy methods.     

Anorexia messes with your emotions and can manifest in constant irritability, fluctuating moods, social withdrawal, and obsession with food and exercise.  

Likewise, bulimic individuals struggle with low self-esteem linked to their body image. Despite being of average weight or just a bit overweight, their negative perception of their body may bring them to binge on large amounts of food then take measures to compensate through forced vomiting, laxative abuse, and intense exercise.

Similarly, people struggling with binge eating disorders (BED) experience distress after binging behavior. Unlike bulimics, they don’t take compensatory measures like purging, but the emotional upheaval may be as intense. 

Eating And Psychological Disorders

There is no single cause in developing an eating disorder, but biological factors like genetics may increase the risk. 

External pressures also shape how a person perceives himself against the prevailing beauty standards reinforced by pop culture and social media. These messages’ most prominent theme calls on women to aspire for slim, hourglass figures while pushing men to strive for muscular bodies to achieve success and happiness in life.  

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People with eating disorders work to achieve these unrealistic standards, which does them more harm than good. A well-meaning diet to shed extra weight may spiral into a full-blown eating disorder, developing into psychological problems like depression or anxiety.  

Although there’s some evidence suggesting that severe malnutrition can cause physiological imbalances that negatively affect one’s mood, people suffering from eating disorders often have existing or co-occurring psychological problems that make symptoms worse by amplifying the negative emotions associated with unhealthy eating habits. 

In addition to depression and anxiety, people with eating disorders might have a borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorder. 

According to two separate studies, half of the patients diagnosed with binge eating disorder have a history of depression. Nearly a fourth (24%) of bipolar patients met the criteria for eating disorders. 

Likewise, people with anorexia are not exempt from depression, with tragic results. Studies show anorexics are 50 times more likely than the general population to die because of suicide. 

High Mortality Risks

The strong connection between eating and psychological disorders increases the former’s mortality rate. A study published in 2012 concluded that all eating disorders have increased mortality risks. Anorexia is recognized as a fatal mental illness with an estimated mortality rate of 10% as patients die due to starvation, metabolic collapse, substance abuse, and suicide. 

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People with eating disorders fail to receive timely treatment because they try to hide their condition due to feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. If left untreated, it can lead to serious medical complications like heart failure, osteoporosis, gastric rupture, pancreatitis, and diabetes.  

Treatment 

The good news is eating disorders can be treated, and early diagnosis plays a big part in improving health outcomes. 

Given the close link between eating disorders and mental health issues, it’s essential to form a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses co-occurring conditions and involves a multidisciplinary team that might include a primary care provider, psychiatrist, dietician or nutritional counselor, and a social worker. 

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The treatment will likely include psychotherapy, counseling, and a medical plan that addresses one’s nutritional needs. The doctor may also prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication as needed.   

Outpatient treatment works for some people with mild eating disorders, but severe cases might require inpatient care or hospitalization in a specialized facility. Inpatient stays are usually followed by outpatient treatment and aftercare to adequately address the disorder’s underlying issues and reduce the risk of relapse.

Final Thoughts 

Some people might dismiss eating disorders as a fad, a phase, or a choice, but they are real illnesses that require immediate medical intervention. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating eating disorders, but early diagnosis increases the likelihood of reversing this disease’s health consequences. 

Anorexia didn’t earn its reputation as the deadliest mental illness for no reason. It’s best to get professional help when disordered eating is already harming your productivity, functioning, and quality of life. 

 

Talking To Your Family About Your Eating Disorder

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Eating Disorder is a sensitive topic. Most people diagnosed with this find it difficult to strike a conversation about what they’re going through. They fear that when they open up, they may receive judgments from their friends and family. However, hiding your eating disorder may worsen your mental and physical health. It is crucial to reach out to your family members about your eating disorder to speed up your recovery.

Set A Time And Place To Talk

Choose a quiet place and right timing to talk about your eating disorder with your parents and other family members. There will be a meaningful conversation if they have their undivided attention and are in a positive mood. If you aren’t confident to tell your situation in front of everyone, you can talk to your parents or siblings separately.

An ideal time maybe during weekends, where everyone has their day-off. It is essential to have an uninterrupted conversation in a private place where nobody is rushed and fewer distractions.

Air Out Your Concerns

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Understandably, talking to your family members about an eating disorder is difficult. But you have to be honest and open about what you feel and experience. Tell them that you think you have an eating disorder, explain your unusual eating behaviors, and show what you’ve researched.

Talking about your eating disorder for the first time can be nerve-wracking. If you are not prepared to discuss in person, you can write them a letter or message them on any online platform. Although messages on these platforms may get misunderstood or misinterpreted, so be sure to be clear and concise with what you want to convey to your family members.

To help you get started, Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC and Crystal Karges, MS, RDN suggest, “Phrases that might be helpful to share with them include ‘I feel sad and scared about a health problem I am struggling with,’ or ‘I have tried to overcome this on my own but feel that I need help,’ or even ‘I am struggling with an eating disorder and would like your support and guidance to find treatment and overcome this challenge. Will you please help me?'” 

Prepare For Anything

Your parents’ reactions will vary. Some may get frightened, shocked, angry, or confused with all the information you told them. But most parents are supportive of their pursuit of the improvement of their mental and physical health because they only want the best for their children.

Expect that you will receive an emotional response from your parents and know that their feelings are valid and normal. Don’t blame yourself if they lashed out on you as their emotions are not necessary for your healing process. Give yourself some positive reinforcement that you are brave enough to open this sensitive topic to your parents and acknowledge that you want to feel better with your condition. It may take time for them to digest everything, but they will slowly accept it through time.

Educate And Seek Professional Help

Parents play a significant role in your recovery from an eating disorder. Some parents may feel guilty, and they blamed themselves. While you sit down and talk to them, educate them about eating disorders to better understand your situation. Tell them that your eating disorder can be treated.

You may also want to have a list of treatment centers handy. Discuss with your parents the treatment centers you looked up and consider some options in looking for the best treatment center. Here are some things you and your family may want to consider:

  • Length of stay in the treatment center;
  • Kinds of insurance accepted;
  • Treatment center’s philosophy;
  • Treatment methods offered;
  • Location of the treatment center;
  • Amenities; and
  • Payment options

Find A Specialist

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Aside from considering a treatment center, find a qualified eating disorder specialist who will oversee your treatment. Usually, treatments for this type of condition begin at the outpatient level, and most patients respond successfully to this level. The specialist will diagnose which type of eating disorder you have and will inform you of the types of therapy you will undergo based on your condition.

There are different types of Eating disorder treatments. Discuss with your specialist the underlying issues that should be prioritized, and the level of eating disorder treatment needed. Some helpful therapies include:

  • Art Therapy;
  • Dance/Movement Therapy;
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy;
  • Family Therapy; and
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy

Combat Eating Disorder With Your Family’s Support

An eating disorder can have long-term consequences and complications if not immediately treated. Confronting the eating disorder and admitting that you need help is the first step towards recovery.

However, you don’t have to go through this alone. Opening up to your family members about your situation, and getting support from them makes everything better. You’re one step closer to overcoming your eating disorder. It may not be easy for them to understand at first, but their unconditional love and support will always remain.

 

 

Lockdown: When I Discovered That My Sister Had An Eating Disorder

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There was something wrong with my sister. I could feel it, but I just didn’t know what it was yet. So, when classes were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was forced to stay with me since dorms were also on lockdown. That’s when I saw the problem. My sister has an eating disorder. She was suffering from bulimia nervosa. This disorder is dangerous, and it can be fatal if not appropriately addressed. I don’t want her to die, and as any sister would do, I intervened and helped her in the best way I could.

Continue reading “Lockdown: When I Discovered That My Sister Had An Eating Disorder”

How Attending An Eating Disorder Conference Could Help You

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Experts gathered together in the 2019 Eating Disorder Conference held at Drumlins, Syracuse New York last October. The conference featured various topics that gave its audience a better understanding of eating disorders and how to deal with it appropriately. But why would you want to pay for the registration and attend an entire day of lectures? Here are three reasons why:

1. Various Topics Discussed By Experts

 

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Conferences invite people who are experts in the field to share their knowledge. Often, these experts discuss topics that are products of years of their hard work—listening to what their lectures would impart valuable information in a few minutes. Experts might touch on issues that deal with your condition or experience. If you have questions, these experts are the best people to answer them.

2. You Will Be Amongst Your Peers

Do not feel intimidated by conferences. Instead, be comforted by the thought that your peers surround you. Attendees of conferences share the same interests. They could be experts, part of the academe, students, and merely curious people. Learning like this does not only occur in lectures. You could discover new things and understand your condition better by conversing with others and sharing your story.

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3. Conferences Open New Opportunities

Participants in conferences may come from different fields in your topic of interest. The event would allow you to socialize with them while learning new things. It will enable you to explore further possibilities and maybe point you to a direction you have been uncertain of. You may discover new areas of study, an opportunity for research, or meet someone who shares the same experiences.

Conferences gather people to learn together. It is a chance to share your views, experiences, and learnings over the years. Having an eating disorder may be challenging to deal with alone, but attending conferences would make you realize that there is a community that supports you. No matter what your purpose in attending a conference is, it is for sure that upon leaving the venue, you will always bring home new knowledge with you, and that could never be a bad thing.