How to Help Individuals with Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders come in various forms and when not recognized early, can disturb the stability in one’s life. When humans ingest something into their stomach, it sends a pleasurable response to the brain and appropriately adjusts their hunger level and eating. However, with an eating disorder, an individual’s brain has a harder time sensing that it is either hungry or full. Instead, their sensation, their experience, and their feelings of hunger are entirely different.

The three eating disorders that we will focus on in this research paper will consist of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. By analyzing the signs and symptoms, medical complications, neurobiology, and treatment approaches of eating disorders we can better understand how counselors can help individuals whose brains have become hijacked during this addiction and further maximize treatment outcomes.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a distorted perception of weight, an individual’s abnormally low body weight, and their intense fear of gaining weight. Someone with anorexia nervosa will refuse to maintain the minimum normal body weight for their height and body structure. Their body image distortion prevents them from recognizing how skinny they are even though they may be about fifteen percent below their normal healthy weight. They have an intense fear of becoming obese even with their weight loss. These individuals place a high value on controlling their weight and shape by using extreme measures to restrict their food intake by dieting or fasting and may still engage in excessive maladaptive behaviors such as vomiting and exercise .

The DSM-5 codes anorexia nervosa as either the purging type or the restricting type. Additionally, the individual’s severity is based on their BMI, body mass index, and may further change based on their functionality. With a BMI of seventeen or more, the adult is considered to be in the mild range, sixteen to seventeen is moderate, fifteen to sixteen is severe, and a BMI of under fifteen is extreme. Individuals with anorexia nervosa may portray emotional and behavioral symptoms that deal with being preoccupied with food.

For example, they may cook elaborate meals for others in which they do not partake in eating. Individuals may also eat only certain types of food that they consider safe due to their low caloric and fat content. This may include adopting rigid eating rituals such as spitting out food after they have chewed it or lying about how much food they have consumed. In addition, they may deny feeling hunger, frequently skip meals and make excuses for not eating, or refuse to eat altogether. Their fear of gaining weight may result in repeatedly measuring or weighing their body, frequently looking in the mirror at their perceived flaws, complaining about having fat body parts, and wearing excess layers of clothing.

Cite this paper

How to Help Individuals with Eating Disorders. (2020, Sep 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/how-to-help-individuals-with-eating-disorders/

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