Eating disorders can damage your body, your relationships, and your mental health. But you can better understand the root causes of your eating disorder and get support along the path to recovery from the caring team at TheHopeLine.

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits, and an unhealthy relationship with food. You may eat too much, too little, or not at all. There are a variety of eating disorders, but some of the most prevalent symptoms across diagnoses include:

  • Starving oneself, or eating as little as possible
  • Severe or obsessive “dieting” that involves deprivation of food and/or stimulant drugs
  • Going as long as possible without meals
  • Becoming convinced that you are never thin enough, even if you are underweight for your height and age
  • Eating too much, until you are so full you’re in pain (binging)
  • Vomiting after you eat, either too relieve the pain of binge-eating, or in an attempt to lose more weight (purging)
  • Eating excessively (such as finishing entire containers of food, eating much more than a suggested serving, etc.)
  • Not changing your eating habits, even when a medical professional has warned you that your health and safety are at risk
  • Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas in an attempt to lose more weight
  • Exercising more than recommended, beyond the point of pain and exhaustion

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get help for your eating disorder immediately. Since your body needs to eat every day, eating disorders also become addictive behaviors, requiring additional support, mentoring, and monitoring.

Common Needs Behind Eating Disorders

Many people we talk to at TheHopeLine who are recovering from eating disorders have expressed a deeper need that drives their behavior beyond simply the desire to lose weight. Everyone’s situation is different, but many people develop an eating disorder out of an attempt to regain control in their life after a traumatic or painful experience.

Some people are trying to appease an abusive partner in a toxic relationship by manipulating their appearance. Some people with eating disorders have such difficult struggles with their body image and self-worth that they feel compelled to starve themselves, soothe themselves with excessive amounts of food, or both.

Eating Disorder Recovery: Love and Acceptance

Whatever your situation, it’s time to stop blaming and punishing yourself for your eating disorder. You have no reason to be ashamed of your body. There are people who can help you break the cycle of unhealthy eating habits and reclaim a healthful relationship with food, along with a sense of contentment with your body.

If you believe you have an eating disorder, take a look at the following steps:

  • Visit a physician who can give you the proper diagnosis, and appropriate recommendations for specialized treatment. They will likely refer you to other professionals, such a nutritionist or a psychologist, who can provide additional guidance.
  • Consider a support group so that you feel less isolated in your recovery.
  • Tell people you trust about your diagnosis so that they can help you stick to your treatment plan.

TheHopeLine provides email mentorship and live chat support for people with food addiction and eating disorders. We will keep your information confidential and provide a listening ear in a judgement free space. Eating disorder recovery is possible – and it can start today.

Interested in learning more? Search our library of ebooks, podcasts, blogs, and more with questions about eating disorders:

  • Which mental health issues are connected to eating disorders?
  • How do I tell someone about my eating disorder?
  • Is God mad at me for my addictive behavior?

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