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Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

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Hi, my name is Kate and my eating habits are getting worse everyday. I feel so guilty when I eat and I feel so much hatred towards my body. I’ve been starving myself and if I eat, I would feel too guilty and purge it or burn it all off. I only allow myself to eat normally on weekends. I’m not sure if I would be diagnosed with an eating disorder since I feel like I’m not that ‘ill’. I hope you answer my question.

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

Answered by on -

A.

Obviously, I cannot diagnose anyone via the internet. Only a professional who assessed you in-person could definitively make a diagnosis. However, what you have described seems dangerous and worrisome. It is not healthy, wise or sustainable to only eat on weekends. Your body needs food to live. Without food your body cannot function properly.

According to research, there are approximately 30 million people in the United States who suffer from an eating disorder. These disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Anorexia nervosa, in particular, has an estimated mortality rate of about 10%. This is often caused by starvation and metabolic problems. Others have died from suicide.

You mentioned that your eating habits are getting worse every day. The fact that you are noticing a significant degradation each day is indicative of needing professional help. I would strongly advise that you consider it.

You also mentioned feeling guilt about eating and having hatred toward your body. That is not an uncommon experience among individuals with eating disorders. In response, they don’t feed their body and starve it of the nutrients it needs to survive. Even though you don’t feel “ill” now, you may in the very near future. The human body cannot sustain this type of assault for very long. It will start to shut down. Health complications with eating disorders are common and serious. Some of the most common include the following:

  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • dizziness and fainting
  • loss of menstruation
  • constipation
  • irregular heart rhythms
  • abnormal blood counts
  • loss of critical bone mass

One of the most serious complications of certain eating disorders is the damage to the heart. As one loses muscle mass, the heart gets smaller and weaker. Couple that with excessive exercise and the toll on the cardiac system can be immense and overwhelming. Among people with anorexia nervosa, heart damage is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization.

Eating disorders are not necessarily about the regulation of food intake. They are psychological disorders often associated with loss of control. I strongly encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. Each of us only gets one body. It needs to be protected and cared for properly, otherwise it could fail.

I would encourage you to tell your parents about these issues. Ask for their help and support. It would also be helpful to contact your local primary care physician and consult mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders. They will be in the best position to help you. It’s important to understand that eating disorders are treatable with the right help. Hopefully you will choose to seek treatment. It’s the right thing to do. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Do I Have an Eating Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/12/08/do-i-have-an-eating-disorder/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Dec 2019 (Originally: 8 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 6 Dec 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.