Studies continue to show us that eating disorders are on the rise, and those illnesses are closely tied to mental health issues such as anxiety. In order to enjoy long-term improvements, patients must have those co-occurring disorders properly diagnosed and treated at the same time.
Anxiety is a natural response to stress, and it is perfectly healthy in some situations. Unfortunately, many people struggle with debilitating anxiety that makes everyday tasks nearly impossible. That type of stress can result in obsessive behaviors such as constantly worrying about calories or weighing oneself multiple times a day. Generalized anxiety disorder can produce a wide variety of symptoms, and anyone who believes that they have this condition should immediately seek out help.
The Connection Between Anxiety and Eating Disorders
We now know that there are countless risk factors for eating disorders, and that includes chronic anxiety. For many patients, anxiety leads to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. While every patient who has an eating disorder doesn’t necessarily have anxiety as well, those conditions are often co-occurring. Some patients also struggle with other mental health issues such as clinical depression, bipolar affective disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder.
Signs of an Eating Disorder
Every eating disorder has a unique set of symptoms, but there are some common signs that you should keep an eye out for. In many cases, those who have one of these disorders will become obsessed with their diet or fitness. Others are very compulsive over how they eat and what foods they are allowed to consume. Over time, you might notice distinct changes to the individual’s health or appearance. To prevent long-term damage, you must get professional help as quickly as possible. In a very short period of time, an eating disorder can wreak havoc on one’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health.
There are quite a few treatment options for eating disorders, and every patient will need to come up with a recovery plan that works for them. Most patients benefit from inpatient programs where they receive constant care and support. After a patient has completed an inpatient program, they can then transition to intensive outpatient services such as personal counseling, nutritional counseling, family therapy, and group therapy.
After being diagnosed with an eating disorder, patients must dedicate themselves to the recovery process. Beating those disorders will never be easy, but the treatment options are more effective than ever.