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Eating disorders don’t have a look. Now that modern diagnoses of eating disorders no longer includes a weight cut-off, more people are able to come to terms with the existence of an eating disorder and get the appropriate treatment. Eating disorders are a mental health problem as much as they are a problem with weight, body image, body size, physical health, and more.

The Stigmas Surrounding Eating Disorders

Each distinct kind of eating disorder has its own set of stigmatized characteristics. Heavily ingrained into the minds of mainstream society, these characterizations can get in the way of someone struggling with an eating disorder t get the help they need and get proper treatment. For too many years, doctors would deny the existence of an eating disorder due to the fact that an individual did not have the presenting physical symptom.

Saying something like “You don’t look like you have anorexia, because you are not skinny enough” is remarkably damaging to someone who regularly participates in compulsive restriction behaviors. Anorexia does not always result in tremendous weight loss. Bulimia nervosa typically does not present any outwardly physical differences. Orthorexia is often mistaken for a highly regimented healthy fitness and lifestyle “look” and binge eating disorder likewise does not always result in significant weight gain.

The behaviors of eating disorders are also hidden. Fueled by shame and guilt, the behaviors of eating disorders are often practiced in secrecy as a painful private truth. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible on the outside can often create uncomfortable situations for someone with an eating disorder who then attempts to compensate with their harmful behaviors. How someone with an eating disorder acts in public might be greatly different from how they operate when they are in private.

Read More: Does Shame Influence Eating Habits?

Once an eating disorder becomes all-consuming and out of control, an individual with an eating disorder will have great difficulty in maintaining the veil of normalcy. Beyond their control, their behaviors will start slipping through. Like small cries for help, it may become more noticeable that someone is not eating, is frequently attending the bathroom after a meal, is spending more time alone at home than before, or is increasingly obsessive about their eating habits.

Eating disorders are often associated with an unresolved trauma that inspires a compulsive behavior for enacting control on how one looks, feels, and is seen by others. If you are struggling with an eating disorder as a result of trauma, there is no shame in asking for help.

Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma and related issues. Everyone has a story. We’re here to welcome you with open arms and start your journey to a new life in recovery. 1-855-483-7800