If you or a lady in your life has an eating disorder, you may want to listen up. It is possible to recover – and, in fact, up to two-thirds of women do, according to a small study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
The catch: It took more than a decade for them to get better, said researchers who recruited 246 women with an eating disorder. They ended up focusing on 176 patients, however, as 18 passed away, 15 could not be located and 37 declined to participate.
Nearly 20 million females and 10 million males in the United States will have an eating disorder at sometime in their life – and previous research suggested that only half of those folks will recover. What’s more, people with eating disorders experience substance abuse at a rate five times greater than the rate seen within the general population, according to the National Eating Disorders Foundation.
Study participants received various types of treatment – on an off over 20 to 25 years – which included:
- Individual, family and group therapy
- Nutritional counseling
- Medical care
“Our study showed that given time, most individuals with anorexia and bulimia will recover,” said study lead author Kamryn Eddy, co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The findings inspire me to remain hopeful in my work as a clinician with these patients.”
Types of Eating Disorders
There are six distinct types of eating disorders. One of the more famous eating disorders is the one you’re probably most familiar with: Anorexia Nervosa. This eating disorder is characterized by excessive weight loss through self-starvation. This person restricts their food intake, and possibly exercises excessively, in order to lose a significant amount of weight. It is critical that they find eating disorder recovery as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in death or extreme illness.
Another intense eating disorder is Bulimia nervosa. This person will often eat a significant amount, then force themself to vomit to undo the effects. This could lead to diminished gag reflexes, trouble swallowing, and impaired thought processes. Therefore, it is crucial for the person to go to eating disorder recovery.
We touched slightly on the third eating disorder, which is binge eating disorder. This person will regularly eat excessively, even if they’re feeling uncomfortably food. This can lead to depression, self-revulsion, or guilt.
Avoidant/Restrictive food intake disorder is the fourth eating disorder. This person may consider themselves a “picky-eater,” as they will not eat certain foods. This could be because they don’t want to eat a specific food, or they may avoid some food because they don’t like some sensory characteristic. Unfortunately, this leads to a continuous failure to meet the person’s nutritional and energy needs.
Another eating disorder is other specified feeding or eating disorder, which experts define as having an eating disorder that isn’t within the guidelines of other eating disorders. Moreover, the final eating disorder is unspecified feeding or eating disorders, which is where a person has an eating disorder but it doesn’t meet the full criteria of the specified feeding or eating disorder.
Help for Eating Disorders and Addiction
At Red Oak Recovery, we understand that substance abuse can often go hand in hand with disordered eating. Food and body image struggles often surface after the substance abuse has ceased and often becomes apparent in early recovery. In addition to eating disorders, we also treat: