Eating disorders are a collection of complex psychological disorders that are characterized by the manipulation of food and body weight. Food may be restricted, binged and/or purged as a way to cope with underlying psychological issues.
People with eating disorders do not choose to have an eating disorder. Very frequently anorexia or bulimia may begin quite innocently in an attempt to "eat healthier" or lose just a few pounds....or overeating/ binge eating becomes a temporarily effective way to make one feel better. Over time, these symptoms become harder to stop. In fact, once an eating disorder develops, it can be quite difficult to "just stop" even if the person admits that he/she is harming themselves. Often, if family members try to intervene by forcing changed behaviors, the situation can become worse.
Because the eating disorder behaviors usually become more entrenched over time, it is important that treatment be sought early. Even if you are not sure that you have all the symptoms of an eating disorder, it is best to see someone with special expertise as early as possible. While family members may not be directly able to change behaviors, family members can be very effective in helping to get their loved ones into treatment.
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