Too many people consider eating disorders a "phase" of low self-esteem that many girls go through, especially during their teenage years. However, this is far from the case. In fact, eating disorders are complicated, chronic, sometimes fatal diseases that can have serious long-term health consequences.
If you suffer from an eating disorder, you may be feeling isolated and paralyzed by your disease. Just know that you are not alone in your struggle and that long-lasting recovery is possible. The earlier you seek professional treatment, the higher your chances of emotional, mental and physical recovery.
Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, income or appearance. Although eating disorders stem from an unhealthy relationship with food and weight, the condition is actually not about personal appearance or eating habits. These factors are just vehicles for expressing an individual's underlying mental, psychological and emotional pain. This is why therapeutic counseling is such a crucial part of a lasting recovery, because a patient must heal internally in order to heal physically.
That's also why Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef pioneered his dual diagnosis treatment method, so that patients can approach their health in a holistic manner, recognizing their inner pain as the driving force behind their disease. Leading the eating disorder programs here at Fairwinds Treatment Center, Dr. Pauline Powers is an internationally renowned expert in eating disorders who has been a researcher and educator for over 40 years.
Eating disorders are serious, damaging mental illnesses that require professional medical treatment. These are some of the health consequences that can result from eating disorders:
- Electrolyte imbalances: Bulimia can cause extreme electrolyte imbalances in the body, causing irregular heartbeats and possible heart failure.
- Fatigue: Individuals are often sluggish, tired and weak as a result of not getting the nutrients they need to function at their best.
- Gastric rupture: During purging behaviors, an individual's stomach can perforate.
- Hair loss: Some patients experience hair loss as well as dry skin.
- Muscle loss: Without adequate nourishment, an individual will lose muscle mass and experience muscle weakness and fatigue.
- Osteoporosis: Lacking in nutrition, the body's bones become brittle and dry.
- Risk of heart failure: Anorexia can lead to abnormally low blood pressure and a slow heart rate, increasing the risk of heart failure.
- Rupture of the esophagus: Frequent vomiting can cause the esophagus to become inflamed or even ruptured.
- Severe dehydration: Without enough electrolytes, the body can become severely dehydrated and an individual runs the risk of kidney failure.
- Tooth decay: Staining and tooth decay is a common result of frequent purging.
The longer an eating disorder goes untreated, the worse these health consequences become. That's why it is crucial to ask for help as soon as possible. Try talking to a loved one about your concerns and asking for support as you seek professional treatment.
Contact Fairwinds today to find out about your treatment options. We're one of the top eating disorder treatment centers in the nation, and our staff will give you the attention you need to achieve a long-lasting recovery. We understand that each person experiences eating disorders in a unique way, and our medical professionals understand that there's no one-size-fits-all treatment answer. Instead, we'll work with you as an individual to find the combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling that will offer you the most effective healing process.
Living with an eating disorder is not normal or sustainable, so it's crucial that you receive treatment. Patients can and do experience long-term recovery after their stay at Fairwinds, and are able to lead happier and healthier lives that are free from the damaging effects of the disease.