When your roommate tells you: “I’ll do anything not to gain weight,” do you contemplate what she meant by it? Did you stop and think about 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?
Or when your daughter who’s never been 5Lb overweight, or 5LB 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. 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 About Body Image Not Food
When your husband spends more time in the gym than he spends at home or with you, claiming it helps him discharge after a long day at the office, and he fears being a chubby kid again. You know he can swing from being overweight to anorexic. His obsession with workouts and food is all he talks about.
Our society is so engrossed with positive body image and youth that many will go to any lengths to capture that beautiful young look.
What Is a Food Disorder
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 It 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. Remember Karen Carpenter?
Those With Food Disorders Have Classic Addiction Symptoms
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.
Eating disorders can be treated. To check out resources near you, visit Recovery Guidance.