A food disorder or an eating disorder are when food, not nutrition is an issue. Here’s an example. When your roommate tells you something like this, “I’ll do anything not to gain weight,” what do you think she meant by it? Do you stop wonder what “anything” means to her? When you hear her purging in the bathroom every time she puts something in her mouth and swallows, did you wonder if she has a food disorder? When people eat normally, but then head to the bathroom to throw up the food is called purging.

What does a food disorder look like in a family member

What does it mean when your daughter who’s never been overweight underweight rushes in from a night out and frantically searches the kitchen for peanut butter and crackers (which her brother just finished) and literally goes crazy for something sweet to eat. It means she didn’t eat a thing when she was with her friends. Was it because she didn’t have enough money to buy something to eat? No, that’s not the reason. So she didn’t eat, wanted crackers late at night and the next day runs miles in order to keep her weight in check. Did you stop and wonder, is there a problem her? Or is this just a phase all adolescents go through?

Deep inside you know this is a food or eating disorder related to body image

When your husband spends more time in the gym than he spends at home or with you, he may claim it helps him chill out after a long day at the office. But he really fears being a chubby kid again. You know he can swing from being overweight to anorexic. An anorexic will literally starve him or herself because he/she feels fat even when way too thin. A food disorder can be an obsession with workouts and food when that’s all you can talk about. You may wonder what’s the difference between a compulsion and  addiction.

Our society is so engrossed with positive body image and youth that many will go to any lengths to capture that beautiful young look. That can mess with our mental health.

What is food disorder definition

Food addiction is defined as: the compulsion to alter the mood by repeated episodes of binge eating despite unfavorable results. The compulsion component is also always present in the disease of addiction.

Where does an eating disorder come from

We must note again that like others who struggle with addiction, food addicts are not people who retained bad habits from childhood. Nor are they weak-willed. They have the same chemical imbalance that all addicts have. They are consumed by thoughts about food and where they are going to get the next meal. They plan the next binge. Food addiction is chronic condition, progressive and fatal. check out 12 step fellowships for help.

Those With Food Disorders Have Classic Addiction Symptoms

  • Compulsion
  • Denial
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal
  • Craving

Inaccurate Body image

The disease manifests itself differently for various people. People with a food addiction see themselves as too fat even when they are starving. Some are what the professional refers to as bulimia nervosa, which is a rapid binge and purge. Others yet, eat in secret and isolate while eating. Purging, fasting, and then exercising is another form of self-flagellation, when the addict feels that his or her body is overweight.

 What To Do

When a family member recognizes the above behavior, all methods of intervention needs to occur, for the disease is mental, physical and spiritual. A mental health counselor who specializes in eating disorder could be the first step. Because we don’t live in a vacuum, the behavior of one family member affects the whole family dynamic. Therefore, the whole family needs to be involved in taking steps towards recovery of that one addicted family member.


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Gila Meriwether
Gila is a strategic planner and brand developer. She has a wide range of experience from being the business manager of a mid-size hospital to the case manager in evaluating retired NFL players for the concussion injuries rating. She has worked with national and international companies in the area of board reorganization, re-branding, and public awareness. Gila also brings extensive volunteer experience with local and global non-profit organizations.

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