The Mental Cost of Eating Disorders

The Mental Cost of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can express in a variety of ways: anorexia, bulimia, overeating, just to name a few of the expressions that this condition can take on.  The manifestation of eating disorders will typically involve obsessions about food, about the body and being able to become free from these obsessions.

Culturally, it can be easy to minimize eating disorders as less serious addictions than those struggling with substance abuse addictions.  However, the deeper truth is that individuals struggling with eating disorders are living with the same loss of authentic self as those struggling with other addictions.  The vacillation between obsession and compulsion is a loss of choice which can lead to profound health consequences, even including the loss of the physical life.  At its heart, the loss of the spirit is present in this loss of choice, regardless of what substance or behavior the choice is related to.  

The natural rhythm of providing our bodies with food is an opportunity to discern at each interval what nutrients will provide us with the stamina needed to live our life purpose.  When these intervals become cycles of feeding an obsession, we have lost our authentic selves to an eating disorder.  Whether it is focused on consuming specific foods, performing ritual practices around foods, or a focus on how to mitigate the harmful choices through exercise or purging, the intervals have become about checking out rather than checking in.  

Commonly, individuals struggling with eating disorders are aware that these behaviors are considered ‘not normal’ and hide these patterns.  The result is that they become isolated from their social communities to conceal their behaviors. Becoming a divided person, they , show only parts of themselves to the people who love them while hiding the most vulnerable parts of themselves, the parts that most need to be seen and accepted.  

We can all look at our relationship to food to discover where it is serving the life that we were born to live and where it has taken over our life to block our spiritual purpose. The more that we can become transparent about our journey, moving our relationship to one of positivity and contribution, the more we can support others in doing the same.  

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


Eating Disorders Come From A Deeper Place Than Magazines

There’s no question about it. The way body, food, eating, and body image are represented in mainstream media is harmful. Societal standards of beauty are created for profit. By making people believe they are less than, ugly, unwanted, or in need, corporations can sell their products which will rectify these problems. Women’s bodies are photoshopped to be more thin. Men’s bodies are photoshopped to be more sculpted. If one were to make a list of all of society’s demands for having the perfect body, one would find a consistently contradictory list. Expectations lead to disappointments. The expectations set forth by societal pressures and demands regarding body image are impossible to meet, therefore many are left feeling disappointed in how they look. Most unfortunately, many don’t realize that the happiness or feelings of adequacy they seek cannot come from the way they see themselves in the mirror. It is an entirely inside job.

Eating disorders are less about the eating and more about the disorder. Disordered thinking about self, control, body, and image, are what leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. Since the conversation about societal standards through media and body image are so closely tied, many confuse the cause of an eating disorder to be those societal standards. As reported by The State Press, the opposite is true.

Genetics can and do play a large part in the development of eating disorders. While there are specific genes which contribute to eating disorders, they can also develop out of other mental illnesses. Mental illness has been found to be largely genetic, passing on from one generation to the next. Eating disorders are a way to cope with life- similar to the way drugs and alcohol are abused. In fact, there is a high percentage of eating disorders co-occurring with substance abuse. When mental illness goes untreated, it yearns for comfort in whatever way it can. Practices of restriction and starvation, common in anorexia nervosa, or binging and puring, common in bulimia, bring people comfort.

Recovery from an eating disorder will require an understanding of how the mainstream media influences ideals of body image. Digging deep into the psychological underlying causes for eating disorders will help to separate the practice from the perceived cause.

Enlightened Solutions proudly offers dual diagnosis treatment for eating disorders and substance abuse, as well as other co-occurring mental health disorders. We have a carefully curated eating plan complete with nutritional courses and cooking lessons for life skills development. Using twelve step philosophy with evidence based treatment our approach to recovery is integrative and comprehensive. For more information on our programs of treatment, call 833-801-5483.