In our society, weight and personal appearance play an important role in social relationships, especially for women. The great emphasis upon the importance and attractiveness of a slim, svelte figure causes an over-evaluation of appearance as a determination of self-worth. This accounts for our national obsession with fad diets and weight control programs. Some people may be on and off diets sporadically over a long period of time without any major disruption of their physical and mental health. However, for some people the issue of their weight and appearance becomes an all consuming obsession which damages both their physical and mental health.
Symptoms of eating disorders
include a constant preoccupation with weight, physical appearance and the handling of food. In anorexia there is a severe restriction of food intake to the point of emaciation and malnutrition. The body image is severely distorted, causing the anorectic person to view themselves as being fat no matter how much weight they lose. In some cases, death may result. Anorexia is often characterized by the defense mechanisms of denial and rationalization, allowing the person to believe that their judgment and behavior are entirely normal and reasonable.
In bulimia the person indulges in eating binges during which they ingest huge amounts of food and then purge themselves by vomiting and/or using laxatives to control their weight. The bulimic person may appear to be of normal weight, but the effects of this abnormal behavior pattern poses a serious health risk as well. Bulimia is typically characterized by secretiveness and strong feelings of shame. Bulimics will go to great lengths to conceal their behavior from other people and would rather lie than admit what they are doing.
Skilled professional help is strongly indicated for symptoms of bulimia and anorexia.
How can you decide who is the right professional person to help you with this kind of problem? You may get information about me at Marvin S. Beitner, Ph.D. You may get information about how to evaluate the credentials of any psychologist at Check Qualifications.