Questions You May Have About Eating Disorders
The National Eating Disorders Association cites national surveys, approximating that around 20 million American women and 10 million American men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point during their lifetimes. This set of diseases is fairly common, and can negatively affect people both mentally and physically; they can even culminate in fatalities. It is important to remember, however, that eating disorders are treatable.
Aren’t Eating Disorders Mostly Found in Women?
A common misconception around eating disorders is that they are mainly found in (cisgender) women. However, studies cited by the National Eating Disorders Association say otherwise:
- Subclinical eating disorder behaviors, such as laxative abuse, purging, binge eating, and fasting, are almost as common in men as they are in women.
- About 25% of all individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa are men. Furthermore, men suffering from anorexia have a higher mortality rate, partially because they are often diagnosed later due to societal stigma and biases.
- Transgender individuals suffer from eating disorders at a significantly higher rate than their cisgender peers
How Can I Access Treatment?
There are several ways to access help that are not just limited to immediately seeking out treatment. One such way to do so is by contacting an eating disorder helpline. This can be done so via instant messaging, texting, or calling. The National Eating Disorders Association lists ways to get in contact with someone who can provide you with support:
- Instant messaging: representatives are available for online chat between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time on Mondays through Thursdays, and on Fridays from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
- Texting: if you’d like, you can text with a representative on Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Speaking on the phone: you can reach representatives over the phone on Mondays through Thursdays between 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time, or on Fridays between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
- If you are in crisis: you can text “NEDA” to 741-741.
If you feel ready to look into treatment options, a helpful resource to consider is Eating Disorder Hope’s interactive map. This map allows you to search for eating disorder clinics and resources across the United States.
What Does Recovery From An Eating Disorder Look Like?
Recovery from an eating disorder is an individualized process: no two recovery journeys look the same, and treatment routes that work for some may not work for others. The National Eating Disorders Association suggests looking at recovery from an eating disorder as five (possibly six) stages:
- Precontemplation: individuals may be in denial, though their loved ones have now realized they have a problem.
- Contemplation: Individuals have admitted they have a problem and are ready to receive help.
- Preparation: individuals feel ready to change but are unsure how to move forward; it is important to establish strong coping mechanisms.
- Action: individuals are ready to put their recovery strategies into action, confronting their eating disorders.
- Maintenance/relapse: this stage generally begins once an individual has been in the previous stage for about six months; individuals may need to revisit potentially-triggering things in an effort to prevent relapse during this time.
- Termination/relapse prevention: individuals may eventually decide that they no longer need treatment, but should remember to always ask for help if they need it.
While all types of eating disorders may lead to serious mental and physical side effects, they are thankfully treatable. And one’s treatment plan will depend on his or her individual situation. We are also here to help you at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You may contact us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.