Eating Disorders are a serious and complicated mental illness. Eating disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating. Common symptoms include mood swings, physiological concerns, and even death. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any other mental illness. Eating Disorders include a range of conditions that involve rigidity with food, overvaluing of weight and appearance usually to the degree that a person’s relationships, health and daily activities are negatively affected.
Although commonly affecting young women, eating disorders can impact people of all ages and sexes. It is estimated that 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States suffer from some form of an eating disorder. The number of men with an eating disorder has more than doubled in the last ten years.
Some common eating disorder behaviors include restricting of food intake, binging and purging, binging late at night, abusing laxatives, compulsively overeating, or excessively exercising. While these are common behaviors of an eating disorder, they are not the only concern. Those suffering with an eating disorder often develop unhealthy ways of coping with emotional pain, conflicts, low self-esteem, depression, stress or trauma, all of which become apparent through these eating disorder behaviors.
The use of eating disorder behaviors may be a sign that the individual is struggling to find a way of expressing emotions, especially negative emotions. Engagement in an eating disorder can be viewed as a coping skill. Similar to an alcoholic who uses alcohol to cope, a person with an eating disorder can use binging, purging or restricting to cope with their problems. Some underlying issues that are associated with an eating disorder include low self-esteem, perceived loss of control, feelings of worthlessness, depression, family communication problems and an inability to cope with emotions.
Why Is It Important To See a Specialist?
Due to the complicated and serious nature of eating disorders, you want to ensure you are receiving the highest quality of care. Kristin Goodwin is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS), which means she has sought out and received specialized training in the treatment of eating disorders and common accompanying issues. This extensive training included 2,000 supervised clinical hours by a leader in the eating disorder community, taking and passing the international examination and presenting a case study to the board; all of which were approved by standards of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp). The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals is an international professional society formed to advance the knowledge and expertise of those mental health professionals engaged in treating eating disorders. Kristin is passionate about helping those struggling with disordered eating habits and low self-esteem. She has worked with adults and adolescents, both male and female and in a variety of care settings including outpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient.