Eating Disorders: Addiction and Recovery

By: Kausik Dutta

Eating disorders are rapidly becoming one of the most common, and dangerous, public health issues plaguing many countries. Never before have diseases such as anorexia, bulimia, and food addictions been such a rampant problem. Fortunately, there are many treatment options and help available for people facing these life-threatening problems. Read on to find out more information about eating disorders and treatment options for you or someone you care about.

What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are characterized by obsession with body image and food. But there are many different kinds of eating disorders. Some diseases such as anorexia and bulimia are diseases where people try to control their weight through starvation techniques and the process of binging and purging. On the other end of the spectrum is food addiction, which is characterized by compulsive overeating. These are just some of the more common eating disorders, and although they are different, both are compulsive disorders that are centered around weight and food and both can be detrimental to health.

How do you diagnose an eating disorder?
An eating disorder should be diagnosed by your doctor or a specialist. But there are many warning signs to look out for. Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, here are some common things to look for.

Many eating disorders start by changes in eating behavior such as skipping meals, eating tiny portions, completely eliminating fats, refusing to eat with others or picking up strange eating rituals. Contrarily, eating disorders might include behavior like compulsive overeating. This disorder may also include eating alone to hide binging and vomiting to avoid gaining weight.

Another sign to look for is obvious and obsessive fear of any weight gain or clear depression about their current weight or body image, even if they are clearly healthy and not overweight. Compulsive exercising, mood swings, wearing baggy clothes to cover emaciation or weight gain, and other changes in personality are warning signs that someone may have a problem with an eating disorder. Again, a medical professional has to make the diagnosis.

What treatments are available for eating disorders?
Because there are many different eating disorders, there are many different treatment options available. Addiction recovery, group therapy, treatment and rehab centers are just a few. Once you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, your doctor may be able to help you find the treatment you need. Depending on the disorder and its severity, your treatment could vary from a month-long rehabilitation center to a local support group. Either way its best to find something that you are comfortable with and that you think will work for your individual goals and needs.

If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, you should seek help immediately. Your life or the life of a loved one could depend on it. Do your research and look for the warning signs. Then seek medical attention and find treatment options that will work for you.

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K.S. Louman writes addiction recovery articles for For more information about eating disorders, or to find resources for addiction recovery, please visit

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