Month: August 2018

a woman by the field

The Mental & Biological Causes of Bulimia and Eating Disorders

A person diagnosed with bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) faces potentially life-threatening mental and physical risks, if not treated appropriately. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, only 1 percent of women and 0.1 percent of men in the United States have bulimia, but researchers dispute this as the real figure; like other mental health disorders, many choose to keep their condition a secret.

Bulimia stems from both mental and biological factors. If you or a loved one shows signs of bulimia, seek immediate medical attention to help treat the condition and prevent further damage to you or your loved one’s body and mind. Some of the symptoms listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 include:

  • Evidence of recurring episodes of binge eating (e.g., large amounts of food disappearing)
  • Evidence of purging and inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain (e.g., induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting, excessive exercise)
  • Uncomfortable eating around others, fear of eating in public
  • Stained teeth
  • Drastic weight changes
  • Self-injury, substance abuse, and other signs seen in mental health conditions

Different studies have found many causes related to bulimia, which stretches to both one’s physical and psychological health.

Emotional Stress & Mental Health

There is no specific mental cause for bulimia; one of the usual reasons is it is a coping method for emotional stress. Although it starts as a coping method, it quickly develops into an uncontrollable habit. Often, bulimia appears in a person along with other mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and others.

Body Image and External Factors

Many people find an irrational fear of weight gain and, as such, perform dangerous methods to avoid food intake and weight gain. Research has shown that environmental factors such as the media and fashion industry’s portrayal of beauty as well as sports or other sectors that emphasize weight loss affects one’s body image. However, while bulimia is linked to the fear of becoming overweight, researchers found it is more related to emotional and mental health.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always about one’s body image. Bulimia also stems from external problems. Problems such as within one’s family trigger some patients to develop bulimia, which is why studies have found involving parents in adolescent bulimia treatment are far more effective than treatment where the patient alone undergoes therapy.

Genetic Inheritance

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bulimia and other mental disorders seem to have a hereditary factor, as it occurs within families in between generations. Studies have not sufficiently proven if this is the work of people’s genetics or because of their shared environment, and it is a study worth investigating in the future.

Regardless of the cause, patients who have bulimia are at risk of several mental and physical disorders, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Diagnosis is difficult because some people choose to hide their condition and symptoms. However, if they spot such symptoms, they should seek immediate care for their physical and mental state. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health offers bulimia treatment in Westport that addresses the symptoms of the eating disorders, as well as their possible triggers.

Click here to learn more about eating disorders and their treatment today.

Startup Business People Working on Laptop

How to Deal with Eating Disorder in Your Workplace

Eating disorders can affect anyone, even adults in the workforce. But you might find it difficult to identify whether one of your employees suffers from such problems.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, eating problems can cause serious health complications and can affect someone’s job performance. Fortunately, treatments like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) help individuals overcome bulimia and other eating disorders. DBT teaches individuals new skills to manage negative emotions and reduce conflicts in relationships.

Now, the question is: how can you address eating disorders in your office?

Understand Their Condition

A good starting point would be to educate yourself. Eating disorders are serious problems associated with eating behaviors that have adversely affect someone’s health, emotions, and ability to function in daily life activities.

Eating problems usually occur when a person worries too much about body shape and weight because of social pressures. In America, a significant number of people face the challenges of these disorders.

The most common types of eating problems are bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia refers to consuming a huge amount of food followed by purging through forced vomiting.

Unlike people with bulimia, those who have anorexia tend to ignore food or only consume small servings of certain meals. They perceive themselves as overweight even if they are alarmingly underweight.

Watch Out for the Signs

Although it’s not easy to identify someone with eating disorders, there are signs to pay attention to allowing you to help an employee or coworker.

Individuals who have problematic eating habits are commonly obsessed with food, appearance, weight, and dieting. They admire thin people and feel envious of their thinness. This attitude may result in excessive weight loss.

Additionally, these people also try to avoid corporate events that involve food. You can observe that they withdraw from their co-workers and routine tasks.

In some cases, you may also notice evidence of binge eating. Others, on the other hand, head to the bathroom after eating to purge. They might also have scarred knuckles because of forced vomiting.

Talk About the Problem

If you have employees showing warning signs of an eating disorder and their performance starts to decline, try to have a discussion about it in a private meeting. Remember though not to make assumptions solely based on their appearance and to respect the individual’s right to confidentiality. You may also wish to bring in the human resources department to the conversation.

It’s essential to promote awareness and educate everyone in your workplace about eating disorders. A concerned and inclusive workplace allows for efficiency and productivity.

These illnesses can be life-threatening. So it’s crucial to pay attention to unusual behaviors that your employees show toward eating. Our Westport, Connecticut center offers comprehensive treatment plans designed to help individuals live free from eating disorders. We combine DBT with mindfulness-based psychotherapies and relaxation techniques.

We practice a variety of techniques that can help patients to heal in a safe and comfortable environment and achieve long-term recovery.

Contact us today to know more about our strategies.