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Eating disorders are not always obvious. On the other hand, eating disorders are not always hidden as well. Many wrongly assume that an eating disorder is most strongly evidenced by how thin someone is. Mostly that is because people wrongly assume eating disorders are about eating. Just like alcohol and drugs are really symptoms of the mental illness that is addiction and alcoholism, food, weight, and eating, are just symptoms of eating disorders.

Having an unhealthy obsession over food consumption, weight, body image, and body mass index is indication of a problematic way of thinking. That unhealthy obsession can be displayed in numerous ways. Similar to the way an addict or alcoholic goes to great lengths of dishonesty to protect their addiction, someone with an eating disorder will protect their illness. Binging and purging are easily hidden. When weight loss, or weight gain, or not noticeable, these harmful and potentially fatal practices can carry on under the radar.

“Weight loss,” chief executive of the National Eating Disorders Association Claire Mysko explains, “is not necessarily associated with a lot of eating disorders. Certainly with some- and with anorexia- that is a sign. But for most people who struggle with eating disorders, you wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at them.”

Anorexia is a prevailing eating disorder that can affect men and women of all demographics, cultures, and appearances. Since anorexia mostly involves restricting a diet, commonly to the point of starvation, weight loss is a regular symptom. However, not all eating disorders are about restriction. In fact, most eating disorders include the practice of binging and purging. Binging is eating a copious amount of food to the point of feeling sick. Purging means using a method like vomiting, abusing laxatives, or excessive exercise, to get rid of that feeling. These practices can cause subtle fluctuations in weight, but no drastic weight loss.

The pervasive stereotype of what an eating disorder “should” look like prevents thousands from seeking treatment for their harmful habits. Eating disorders can cause heart failure, stroke, intestinal problems, and weight problems.

If you are concerned you or a loved one might be experiencing an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, or body image, call Enlightened Solutions today. We offer care for dual-diagnosis issues. Eating disorders are commonly accompanied by substance abuse of drugs and alcohol. For more information call 844-234-LIVE.