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.

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Early Signs Of Eating Disorders In Children

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The Type of Eating Disorder Conference 2019 cultivates the continued development and training for future eating disorder clinicians and researchers. It aims to spark more in-depth discussion and reflection on the subject of eating disorders in the next generation. Information regarding eating disorders is essential as identifying early symptoms can lead to early treatment—especially when dealing with children who may not be able to express their emotions directly.

Eating disorders in children present differently in the cases of older adults. Therefore, parents have to remain vigilant and observe unusual behaviors in their children’s eating habits. Eating disorders can have significant harm to physical health and growth, so how can we identify the signs of eating disorders in children?

Avoidance Of Eating Meals With Family Members

Family meals support healthy eating habits in children. However, children experiencing the difficulties of living with an eating disorder may avoid it regularly. They may insist on having already eaten with their friends or feeling full all the time. Signs that parents have to take note of also are their children’s excessive concern about meal preparation, repeatedly reading food labels and fixation with portion sizes.

Missing Food In Your Home

Children with bulimia or binge eating disorder perform their binging when no one is around due to feeling shameful or guilt. They may hide food in their rooms and consume it quickly. Parents may not recognize the cause of their child’s weight gain immediately. Other signs may include vomiting after eating, usage of laxatives, or excessive bowel movements.

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Children Being Hyperactive Or Feelings Of Restlessness

Parents may recognize hyperactivity in their children as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHD). But this is also one of the signs of eating disorders developing in kids. It may not come in the form of exercising, like in older adults. They may do excessive moving without a specific goal. Parents may introduce yoga to their children, which is a type of fitness that can also boost their self-esteem. 

Extreme Worry On Their Appearance

When children fret too much about their physical appearance or weight themselves extensively, these habits can be early signs of eating disorders. Children who have eating disorders have issues with their self-esteem and become very self-conscious. They may avoid social interaction or wear baggy clothes to hide their body to other people. Children may also feel irritable or withdrawn. 

People With Eating Disorders Need Immediate Help

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My sister dragged me to the 2017 Eating Disorder Conference, and it was a turning point in my life. She is an eating disorder specialist, and I wanted to be a therapist, as well. I just did not know what field I wanted to be in at that time, and so she booked me a spot in their conference. She did it not just because she knows I wanted a career in this field. My sister knows that one of my best friends is struggling with bulimia and that I feel so helpless about it.

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How An Eating Disorder Can Affect Your Amorous Relationship

When you love someone, you can accept him regardless of the imperfections. You do not blame or judge them for it, unlike other people. At times, you may even find their flaws adorable and unique. 

However, what may happen if the imperfection that the person you are in a relationship with carries is an eating disorder? 

 No one overeats because they are bad. In fact, the amount you struggle with your food is in all likelihood directly related to the level of your personal standards. — F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W.

Source: flickr.com
  1. The Ill One May Be Unwilling To Attend Social Functions 

Eating disorders come in a wide array of forms. While some tend to overeat, others merely have to swallow a bite or two before they feel the need to toss the food back up and out of their system. 

Considering your partner is dealing with either condition, the fear that the illness will be put on display may discourage them from going to social gatherings. That is still okay if you are randomly dating, but it may ignite a fight between you two at some point since it implies that the eating disorder remains uncontrollable. 

  1. It Might Cause Miscommunication

One way a healthy person can react after realizing that you have an eating disorder is making sure that they will not bother you during your recovery process. There are fewer questions about what you are going through, and the individual may act as if you do not have the illness at all to stop you from feeling awkward about it. 

Although those are well-meaning thoughts, the lack of self-esteem may enable you to think that your partner is not asking anything because they do not care. However, with that in mind, you cannot fathom that the stress that emanates from such an assumption is enough to worsen the disease. It can, in fact, enable your significant other to drift off too if you continue assuming like that instead of communicating with him directly.  

Bingeing gives a temporary high or feeling of “comfort” or respite from long-term distress and unhappiness. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

  1. Old Issues May Re-Surface

Learning about the disorder may cause the fellow without a medical condition to bring forth many questions regarding the past. For instance, why did you end up in that situation? Who or what forced you to resort to binge-eating or excessive dieting? 

To someone who still has the illness, it may be difficult to answer such queries. Moreover, if the special someone cannot take a hint and keeps on prodding for enlightenment, two things may come out of it: you will remove the lid off your buried issues or choose to conceal them for as long as possible. For sure, you are aware that only the former will give you a happily ever after with that person. 

  1. The Secrecy Might Put A Dent On Your Relationship


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Last but not the least, it is terrible if the ill half of the couple hides the truth from their better half. No one will feel great after finding out that you are keeping secrets from him in spite of how much love he has for you.  

In a tired and hungry state, your judgment is impaired and impulsivity increases.  In an attempt to rebalance the lack of food, you’re vulnerable to going overboard, compensating for the profound dip in blood sugar and depleted energy. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Forget about the thought of protecting the love of your life from the harshness of reality. You can see even in the movies that the decision – or lack thereof – often leads to conflicts between the main characters. In real life, it may cause a permanent dent in your amorous relationship since it is unfair to your loved one. 



Recognizing Eating Disorders Among Teens – Therapists Warn Us Of The Danger

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You might think that eating disorders are just happening in adults, but it is also common for teens to develop this. There has been a great influence on teens wherein they need to be in a certain weight or a particular body shape just to fit in. Mostly in girls, they have been pressured to fit in and look for ways to get the body they want. Therapists and other mental health experts say this is becoming a mental health issue and can be very dangerous.

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The Relation Of Bulimia And Panic Attacks 

You feel exhausted and unable to stop, yet each time you tell yourself that it will be the last one. Afterwards, you feel disgusting and ashamed. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

Most people always find things they do not like about their bodies. Hence, they still look for ways to improve their physical appearance through exercising or changing their eating pattern. The problem with this, however, is that they sometimes cross rivers to reach their goal. Some severely restrict eating the whole day or experience abnormal eating habits to prevent unintended weight game. These eating disorders often result in a great deal of harm to anyone.


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If In Doubt Shout

Eating disorders can take a severe toll on both health, relationships, and the more quickly they are treated the more effective the treatment, and the less physical damage will be caused. The first step in seeking help is to acknowledge that you have a problem. Treatment of eating disorders always starts with a visit to a therapist that specializes in that field, so your first question should be “Is there a therapist near me?”An article from online therapy provider gave insights about this.

The myth that you can tell who has an eating disorder based upon their appearance is incredibly dangerous to those who are struggling. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C



Whether the eating disorder has resulted in major weight loss, treatment will always start with a dietary plan to restore your body to the correct weight. Malnourishment impairs cognitive abilities, so psychiatric care is likely to be less effective if you are malnourished. The therapist is likely to want to work with you to gain an understanding of the underlying causes of your condition. This will be used in the development of a personal treatment plan. Because of the complexity of eating disorders they frequently co-exist with other psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders, and all these conditions must be treated for you to fully recover.

The treatment plan is likely to be tailor-made to your environment, support systems, and symptoms. Usually, a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment is taken. Psychotherapy can include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy DBT, and Cognitive Analytical Therapy CAT. You will receive nutritional counseling to help you to regain a healthier outlook on diet and nutrition so that you can be restored to a healthy weight.



Psychotherapy is used to understand any underlying disorders, to help to restore relationships and the help you to obtain a healthier view about their body image and food. Over fifty percent of people suffering from an eating disorder also suffer from depression.

In spite of the long history of psychoanalytic contributions to the treatment of eating disorders, contemporary endeavors have lost sight of the insights our field has provided. — Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS

The goal of CBT is the modification of destructive thoughts and behavior. CBT will take between three and six months, but the long-term outcome of this form of therapy is known to be very effective. DBT is used to assist in regulating any extreme reactions to difficult circumstances. During DBT you are likely to undergo mindfulness training and will be taught how to deal with stressful situations. ACT is used in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety and depression. This therapy is used to help the patient to understand their emotions and how they trigger eating responses.

Eating disorders are not normally treated with medication, but medicines may be prescribed for co-existing conditions. At the beginning of the treatment, many patients are severely malnourished and any resultant damage to the body must receive urgent medical attention.

When adolescents or children have eating disorders family therapy also forms part of the treatment plan. The family or support network is helped to understand the problems so that they can offer effective support. The idea is to strengthen the family unit.

If outpatient treatment facilities are not effective, residential treatment centers may be an alternative as they offer treatment in structured environments. This can help to break compulsive habits. It also removes you from the environment, which may have helped to create the disorder. Above all life’s daily stresses are left behind, so that you can concentrate on recovery.


Self-help can help in the treatment of eating disorders, but without outside help, it is unlikely that you will fully recover and the chances of relapse are high.



If you suffer from eating disorders, seeking help is crucial. Consider the long-term and severe health consequences of malnutrition if you have any hesitation in seeking assistance.

With insufficient nutrition, the brain shrinks, and this results in a loss of IQ. There is a loss in bone density, especially in adolescents where the bones are still developing. Because malnutrition disrupts the hormones, people with eating disorders can become infertile. Infertility can be permanent. Malnutrition causes the muscles in the body to atrophy, and this puts undue stress on the heart. The vast majority of premature deaths caused by anorexia nervosa, for example, are as a result of heart disease.

Don’t wait if you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Help is at hand, and the sooner you seek help, the easier and more complete the solution.

It is time for you to accept yourself and celebrate who you are. — Greta Gleissner LCSW




Eating Disorder And Depression

The causes of eating disorders are complex and not fully understood. Anxiety, depression, and eating disorders all have their roots in negative feelings of self-worth so it is hardly surprising that there is a strong link between them.

When you become obsessed with your diet and eating habits, your emotions begin to hinge on that obsession. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

In 2008, a research study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre found that 24% of bipolar patients suffered from eating disorders, and as many as 44% of these patients found appetite control difficult. The connection between these disorders runs both ways. Depression can cause eating disorders and eating disorders can result in depression. The physiological decay caused by the eating disorder can in itself result in depression. Although they are separate one disorder may trigger the other.



Everyone feels sad or unhappy at some point in life, but if the feeling of sadness continues for long periods of time help must be sought. Depression can be a debilitating condition, and those that suffer from this condition need to open up to someone. Some may be shy, not wanting to burden family and friends with their problems, others may feel pressured into pretending that they are fine. No one needs to suffer alone. Find a Depression Chat Room. They are easy to access and free of charge.

 Chat rooms provide a platform where people are able to talk to active listeners, sharing their thoughts, and problems with someone who can offer advice and sympathy. In the depression chat room the person guiding the discussion is usually a licensed therapist or counselor. Chatters who are not sure whether they are suffering from depression can take guidance from the counselor, who may suggest medical intervention. Training on various aspects of depression is often also available on the website.

When a loved one or dear friend is hiding or lying about self-destructive behavior, it often feels like we need to take action immediately. Even if it means destroying or disrupting a relationship. — F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W.

Online chatters do not have to reveal their identity if they would prefer not to. They can use a pseudonym and can reveal as much as they are comfortable with. Sharing problems in this environment could be the first step to a holistic medical intervention, as the individual may become more comfortable with discussing difficulties and may then seek alternative assistance.



Recognizing the symptoms of depression is the first step to seeking assistance. The most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling sad
  • Loss of interest in the things that had previously been a source of pleasure
  • Loss of appetite
  • No sex drive
  • Difficulties with sleep – insomnia or oversleeping
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • The inability to think or concentrate
  • Social withdrawal



Those who suffer from an eating disorder and coexisting depression should find a therapist that specializes in both of these conditions. The disorders must be treated together, as they may stem from the same cause. The treatment team is likely to include a nutritionist, a therapist, and a physician.

Now, through the advent of technology and a national network of licensed and trained eating disorder treatment professionals, a revolution is under way in the post-treatment environment. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Usually, people with eating disorders are prescribed medication for the depression. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also sometimes used to change eating behaviors. During CBT, sufferers are taught to drop their idealized views of what the human shape should look like and they are encouraged to aspire to a body shape, which is more achievable. They undergo training to help them understand the value of a balanced diet.

Medication works fairly quickly in resolving the symptoms of depression by restoring the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Whilst CBT can take between three and six months to work, it helps the sufferer to resolve underlying problems, which led to the eating disorder and any coexisting disorders, and therefore the long-term outcomes of CBT are more effective. Without CBT patients are likely to relapse when they stop taking the medication.


Many people suffering from eating disorders are likely to have coexisting depression. Some may feel reluctant to burden others with their problems. Sharing feelings and emotions on a chat site could be the first step to a holistic medical intervention and recovery.





Challenges In Overcoming Eating Disorders And How To Beat Them


When a loved one or dear friend is hiding or lying about self-destructive behavior, it often feels like we need to take action immediately. Even if it means destroying or disrupting a relationship. — F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W.

Overcoming eating disorders is very demanding. It needs the willingness of the person to change and their cooperation in treatment. Another important factor is the support they get from the people around them, as well as close monitoring and encouragement of the professional health care team handling their case. Apart from these challenges, there are other elements which can inhibit a successful treatment for these patients. Below are some of the things you must keep an eye on in order to successfully assist the patient to overcome eating disorders. Continue reading “Challenges In Overcoming Eating Disorders And How To Beat Them”

The Psychology Behind Anorexia Nervosa

Source: webmd.com

Anorexia nervosa is a multi-factorial mental disorder that affects mostly women. This means that it is caused by many interrelated factors and in many instances, there is no single factor to link to disorder. Whatever is the cause, the concern of the individual is to attain an “acceptable” body figure by aggressive means up to the point of starving and killing themselves from the complications of the condition. However, to the person suffering from anorexia nervosa, there is no “acceptable” body weight. There is only disapproval and feeling of disgust every time she sees her image in the mirror.

Anorexia nervosa is a greedy illness. It takes everything it can. — Lauren Grunebaum L.C.S.W.

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