On the outside, it looks like you are confident. However, the truth is that you have low self esteem and hate how you look. Maybe you worry about what others are thinking of you. Most days, you carefully monitor everything you eat…except for those moments when you lose control. Your relationship with food is unhealthy, but you don’t know how to change it. The bottom line is that you are tired of living this way. You’re ready for help.
Eating Disorders Are Serious
There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are actually serious and sometimes fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, described below.
We work with clients who have begun their treatment and are looking for help in maintaining a healthy relationship with food. For those in recovery from anorexia or bulimia, we will require lab work to be completed prior to the first appointment.
People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. People with anorexia nervosa typically weigh themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.
Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa Include
- Extremely restricted eating
- Extreme thinness (emaciation)
- A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight
People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa usually maintain what is considered a healthy or relatively normal weight.
Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa Include
- Chronically inflamed and sore throat
- Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
- Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid
- Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
- Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
- Severe dehydration from purging of fluids
- Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack
Binge Eating Disorder
People with binge-eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder Include
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
- Eating even when you’re full or not hungry
- Eating fast during binge episodes
- Eating until you’re uncomfortably full
- Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
- Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
- Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
- Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
- Medical care and monitoring
- Nutritional counseling
Liz Rourke, LCMHC is an eating disorders specialist and is available to meet with clients who need supportive counseling managing their eating disorders. Clients are required to be followed closely by their primary care doctor while in therapy, as collaborative care is provided.
Information taken from NIH (National Institute of Mental Health)
For more information visit our resource page for eating disorders.
You can have a healthy relationship with food
Whether you live in Nashua NH, Merrimack NH, Hudson NH or Tyngsboro MA, the compassionate therapists at our women’s counseling center in Nashua can help. Getting the support you deserve begins with these three easy steps:
- Contact us for more information on our services.
- Get matched to a therapist (meet Our Therapists)
- Come in and start the journey to feeling better.
Make an appointment to address your eating disorder today.
Other Services at Women’s Counseling of Nashua
In addition to counseling for eating disorders, we offer a wide range of mental health services. Our focus is on helping women thrive and be the best version of themselves. Other mental health services at our clinic include counseling for complicated pregnancies & traumatic births, support after miscarriage or a stillbirth, infertility, health & medical issues, parenting, stress management, work-life balance, couples & marriage counseling, career counseling & general individual counseling.