Women and men suffering from issues concerning food and weight, to the point of obsession and compulsion, believe that reaching the perfect weight would make them happy. These individuals spend a tremendous amount of time and money on every type of remedy imaginable; commercial weight loss programs, exercise programs, camps, retreats, diet pills, acupuncture, hypnotism, surgery, and more.
However eating disorders go far beyond the physical problem of compulsive eating, food addiction and weight loss. Compulsive eaters, food addicts, bulimics, and anorexics suffer from an illness that affects not only the body, but the mind, usually leaving the sufferer to feel hopelessly out of control. Most adults recovering from an eating disorder can trace the illness back to childhood or adolescence.
The mental and emotional symptoms of eating disorders can be more devastating than the physical, causing psychological, interpersonal, and social problems for the individual. The compulsion to overeat or the obsession with the body are destructive behaviors in which an attempt to cope with or avoid difficult and often painful events. Therefore recovery needs to address the whole person, physically and emotionally.
The complexities and various factors of the mental and emotional symptoms for an individual with an eating disorder can be difficult to address because there does not seem to be a common solution for the compulsive eater, food addict, bulimic, or anorexic.
This is where the individual with a problem with food and eating differs from the alcoholic and other addicts. Compulsive eaters cannot just walk away and turn their back on food. Alcoholics do not have to learn to drink healthy or limit their alcohol, but the person with an addiction to food and dieting must eat. Note: Food addicts do not have to eat cookie, cakes or candy.
What compulsive eaters, bulimics and anorexics do have in common is the use and abuse of food or destructive dieting behaviors to cope with painful issues in their lives. Individuals suffering from eating disorders are usually looking to relieve or some pain in their life. However, the destructive eating and behaviors only adds guilt, shame and repulsion. So what happens is the compulsive eater eats more, the bulimic continues to purge and the anorexic stops eating all together. The problem is that there is no amount of food or weight loss that will help the individual escape.
Like any addiction, there is no quick fix to recovery from an eating disorder. It starts with admitting there is a problem both physically and emotionally, and accepting that you will probably need help. Very few people are able to recover on their own. Whether you are a compulsive over eater who binges on large quantities of food, a compulsive eater who grazes through the day or night, a bulimic who purges by vomiting, excessive exercise, diuretics, and laxatives, or an anorexics who restricts to the point of starvation, you are not alone.
There are individuals who are recovering, men and women who once felt, hopeless and alone. They are now free from an illness that once controlled their lives. Help and support are available.
See the following websites: