When we think of addictive behaviors, we think of addictions like alcohol and drugs. But what about behavioral addictions, meaning addictions to behaviors or the things that we do obsessively without fail even though they cause us harm? At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we associate addiction with any destructive behaviors or habits that take control of our patients’ lives. The same underlying principle applies to eating disorders and the unhealthy thought process that creates a dark space inside those affected. Eating disorders might begin as small things like dieting and exercise to get healthy and to lose weight, but they can quickly turn into obsessions. We hope to help patients suffering from these eating disorders, to offer them a safe place to address these destructive thought processes and find hope.
We can understand why these eating disorders develop when we see posters and magazines of unrealistically thin women, or men that are chiseled for days. These images in the media reinforce these ideals that both males and females reach for as they incessantly diet and exercise, but these media-driven ideas of what beauty is are far beyond the truth. Not only do they create a negative point of view for children, but adults adhere to this as well and grow to support these images as what’s healthy and not what is fiction. At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we support the idea that everyone is unique and should be supported with love and warmth. The only way we can recover from eating disorders and other addictions is when we feel cared for and understood. To know what classifies an eating disorder, we will cover the main three categories we cover in therapy at Cypress Lakes Lodge.
Classifying Eating Disorders
How eating disorder is defined is that it suggests a condition of the mind as it relates to eating habits that are unhealthy or abnormal. We further break down the various eating disorders that are known today as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.
Patients that represent this class of eating disorder are dangerously under an average healthy weight, and they refuse to maintain a healthy weight even if a medical professional has directed it. Those with anorexia are blind to their rapidly declining health and continue to drop weight, convinced they are overweight. Anorexia nervosa patients are unable to eat balanced or nutritious meals, regularly watch calories and fear fatty foods. The health repercussions of anorexia are high and can cause permanent damage over time.
Symptoms of anorexia nervosa:
- Underweight or malnourished
- Acute fear of eating and gaining weight
- Distortion of self-image
- Decline of muscle mass, causing anemia and weakness
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Chronic fatigue
- Concern for brain damage
- Digestive issues
- Blood pressure changes and irregular heart rate
- Difficulty maintaining warmth
- Hypertrophy of the heart
- Skin deterioration
- Loss of organ function
- Loss of bone density
- Unhealthy relationship with food
- Anxiety and depression
- Self-esteem issues
This eating disorder is difficult for friends and family to see because people with bulimia often maintain healthy weights and do eat. Because bulimia involves vomiting to remove calories from the body before they can be digested or overcompensating with extraneous exercise, fasting or taking laxative medications to expel food, it can be hidden very easily by the man or woman suffering from this disorder.
This disorder is the complete opposite of anorexia because those that binge eat often overeat all at once and suffer from weight gain. Our patients that suffer from bulimia are often overweight and have serious health problems because of this weight gain. However, the unhealthy relationship with food is difficult to overcome because they have the desire to lose weight but cannot due to binge-eating. There is no vomiting or serious exercise, but intense guilt comes with the overeating and pain.
Each of these eating disorders is based on negative or distorted images of the body. For some patients, this distortion of the body they see is fixated on and obsessed over until they can find ways to alter their bodies, whether they opt for surgery or some permanent modification. For those that opt for plastic surgery, they often try to resemble famous people or body types. There are women in the Ukraine that are known for their plastic surgery pursuits to resemble Barbie and her dimensions down to the waist size, large eyes, and tiny nose. This thought process can get worse with an eating disorder and turn into a concurring condition known as body dysmorphic disorder or BDD.
Symptoms of bulimia:
- Decaying teeth
- Intestinal conditions involving soft tissue decay (esophagus, mouth)
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
- Heart trouble
- Vision issues
- Chronic headaches
- Menstrual issues
- Reduced self-esteem
- Binge-eating Disorder
Treatment for Eating Disorders
The type of therapy required for eating disorders is based on the relationships we have with food and our physical appearance. During treatment sessions, medical care will be provided alongside therapy to reintroduce food in a healthy way to our patients and reestablish the maintenance of healthy eating. We also look at treating our patients in both their eating disorder and any emotional distress that has framed their thinking process when it comes to body image and their outlook on life.
Often when we treat patients with eating disorders, we offer family participation and therapy. Whether or not patients realize this, these ideals of weight management and eating habits come from experiencing unhealthy eating behaviors with parents or caretakers. Parents may not realize they have influenced their child to think poorly about their body image by asking their child to watch their weight because it’s done out of love and not malice. Once we get to the root of where these behaviors were learned or how we have come to fear weight gain, we can then treat the whole person. There are two people in your sessions, your healthy self, and your addicted self; separating out what the healthy self-needs as opposed to the unhealthy self, we can teach patients how to care for themselves.
Symptoms of binge-eating disorder:
- Weight gain (unhealthy BMI)
- Heart disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Mood disorders
- Self-esteem issues
- Body-image disorders
- Overeating and stomach stress
- Digestion conditions
- Yo-yo dieting, frequently without results
- Embarrassment when eating
We offer nutrition management, medical observation, and medication management as well as individual, and group therapies with other patients that suffer from the same conditions to help create a safe and comforting space for our patients. At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we want to help you get back to your healthy self and to live without fear of embracing who you are. We teach love, motivation, and patience because recovery takes work to see the change happen. Call Cypress Lakes Lodge today and rediscover self-love at (409) 331-2204.