Do I Have An Eating Disorder?

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

Well I recently went into therapy because I’ve been cutting myself for around four years. I have trouble expressing my feelings, so I am reluctant to actually talk to my counselor. But my question has nothing to do with cutting and everything to do with food. I’m so concerned about my weight. I am always thinking about how fat I am. It’s so gross. I’m 5’9” and weigh about 140lbs. Nobody has actually called me fat, but I feel that I am.

Simply put, I won’t eat food. I’ll live through the hunger pains all day. I’m reluctant to drink beverages because it’s more calories that I don’t need. All day I will not eat. I usually eat dinner, but if I don’t feel hunger pains, then I will rush to the bathroom and throw it up. This pattern simply repeats. Then sometimes, I will eat to the point where I’m full, only my brain cannot handle the fact that my stomach isn’t empty, and, of course, I have to rush to the bathroom; I’ll spend a while in there getting rid of it. Then I will exercise a lot.

I’m about to be a sophomore in college, and I was unable to live at home for the summer. I live with a friend and her parents who make me eat. When I’m eating dinner with them, I always catch them craning their necks to peek at the amount of food I’ve eaten. Then they’ll literally make me eat more. When I’m with them, I cut my food in tiny pieces and it takes me forever to consume it. When I’m not with them, I don’t do it. But no matter where, what, or who I am with when I’m eating, I make sure to never get full.

I know that I should tell my therapist about this, but I cannot. It’s not like I’m actually paying for it anyway. She’s a doctor in the counseling services on campus. She does know about me throwing up, though. I am way too afraid of what everybody will think which is why I never reveal what I’m feeling to anybody including my counselor (I tell my counselor more than anybody though).

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

The short answer to your question is, yes, you probably do have an eating disorder, and left untreated it can kill you. Chances are that the autopsy on Michael Jackson will show that what ultimately killed him was anorexia, with severe electrolyte imbalances causing cardiac arrest. The question of drugs may be irrelevant. Once a person has lost enough weight, they will not be able to recover and will die.  He was extremely thin and had lost his hair due to anorexia. We don’t know if he was bulimic.

Unfortunately, if you are unwilling to tell your doctor, you may as well be lying to her.  If she is a doctor, she may have figured out that you have an eating disorder and is just waiting for you to tell her the truth.  Just the fact that you are throwing up will signal that you probably have bulimia.

Please, before you get into trouble with your body, tell her and ask her for help. That is why she is there. Bulimia is extremely dangerous and can cause fatal hemorrhaging, loss of tooth enamel and destruction of your gastrointestinal tract. It’s not too late.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Do I Have An Eating Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/01/do-i-have-an-eating-disorder-3/