Eating disorders not just about food
Eating disorders can be extremely serious, life-threatening conditions, and unfortunately, they often coexist with underlying mental health issues.
With anorexia, it is also common to see characteristics of perfectionism, often stemming from a rigid, controlling family structure and upbringing.
Individuals can also be genetically predisposed to eating disorders. In many cases of anorexia, patients have either a mother, sister or other close relative who also suffered from an eating disorder.
Conditions such as mood disorders and depression often co-exist with eating disorders as well, especially in patients with bulimia.
Past abuse and/or trauma that wasn’t addressed and coped with properly can also trigger an eating disorder.
A pattern of obsessive compulsive behavior often becomes evident, as patients binge on food, then purge because they feel guilty thinking about what they consumed.
The concept of beauty portrayed in the media today is also becoming a catalyst for eating disorders, especially in western culture, where ‘thin’ equals beautiful.
People begin to strive toward unrealistic goals, triggering unhealthy relationships with food and their body image.
Because of all ofthe underlying conditions that commonly occur with eating disorders, it is important for patients to be treated for all conditions in order to make a full recovery.
Medications and individual and family therapy to help with conditions, such as depression and mood disorders, are often part of the treatment process.
Early intervention and treatment is key, and Cone Health has an exceptional network of behavioral health specialists, dietitians, primary care physicians and other related healthcare providers who are dedicated to providing proper treatment to individuals in the community dealing with eating disorders
Dr. Gayle Tadepalli is a board certified psychiatrist at Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital. Dr. Tadepalli is a graduate of Gandhi Medical College.
She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of North Dakota.