Christian Counseling for Eating Disorders in San Diego

Struggles and issues around food and body image are more common than you may think. In fact, eating disorder statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) suggest that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will suffer with an eating disorder at some point in their life. Eating disorders affect people of all ages and if your behavior and emotions are ruled by struggles with food and body image, then you may have an eating disorder.

San Diego Christian counselors can help you work through the underlying issues causing your disordered eating. We use faith-based counseling strategies to resolve your struggles and set you on the path to recovery from your eating disorders.

Get connected with a Christian counselor
Contact Trish at reception
(424) 361-6198

What are the most common eating disorders?

There are a wide range of food and body image related struggles that can be classified as eating disorders, but the three most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder. Of these, anorexia is the most obvious eating disorder and considered to be the most serious, although bulimia and binge eating disorder also have serious consequences.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is associated with a fear of gaining weight. When you have anorexia, the fear of weight gain is extreme and has a profound effect on your life. Behaviors such as refusing food and exercising obsessively are commonly seen in anorexia. Another characteristic of anorexia is a distorted body image. This means that someone with anorexia will see themselves as fat or overweight even when they are dangerously thin.

Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that often leads to dangerous complications such as heart rhythm problems, low blood pressure, and fainting. Whilst anorexia varies in severity, many people are hospitalized because of their eating disorder.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is another eating disorder that tends to revolve around weight. Unlike anorexia, however, people with bulimia eat excessively and then use purging methods such as vomiting, diuretics, and laxatives to control their weight. Because bulimia is less obvious than anorexia, it tends to go undiagnosed, leading to deep rooted patterns of unhealthy habits.

Binge Eating Disorder

Comfort eating is something that many people do when they’re under stress or distressed. Binge eating disorder is an extreme form of comfort eating. People with this type of eating disorder binge on large quantities of food and then struggle with feelings of shame. Binge eating is something that people tend to try to hide from their friends and family. Whilst it is less serious than anorexia and bulimia, this disorder is something that sufferers cannot control, and has significant health consequences.

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Contact Trish at reception
424-361-6198

What are the similarities and differences between the different types of eating disorders?

The main similarity across all three of these different types of eating disorders is the way that sufferers cannot control their disordered eating patterns without help. Each of these eating disorders have serious health consequences and complications and require the support of an experienced counselor in order to recover. They are all treatable, but recovery takes time and someone with an eating disorder cannot simply “snap out” of their disordered patterns of eating. They all involve distorted body image issues and poor self-esteem.

The differences between these common types of eating disorder are in the way that they present. Anorexia is the most obvious of the eating disorders. It can be recognized by the extreme weight loss, refusal to eat, and obsessive exercising. Bulimia, on the other hand, often goes undetected, since there is not usually extreme weight changes and bulimics are able to hide their binging and purging habits. Similarly, binge eating disorder can be hidden from friends and family and does not appear obvious to others.

What causes an eating disorder?

There are a variety of reasons why someone develops an eating disorder. There may be a number of contributing factors – including risk factors and cultural and societal factors – that lead to someone having an eating disorder. By far the biggest cause of eating disorders – in children, adolescents and adults – is the pressure of conforming to societal and cultural expectations.

TV and social media put a lot of pressure on people to have the perfect body. This contributes to the poor sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and body image issues that can lead to the development of an eating disorder. For adolescents, the combination of peer pressure, bullying and social media can be devastating. Eating disorders often develop in adolescence because of the incredible pressure on young people. Not only that, but the struggles that begin in adolescence can continue long into adulthood.

Risk Factors for Developing an Eating Disorder

Risk factors for developing an eating disorder are generally psychological in nature. A person’s temperament can increase their risk of an eating disorder when exposed to societal and cultural pressures.

The risk factors include:

  • Perfectionism
  • Control issues
  • Being self-critical
  • Pre-existing body image issues
  • Depression, anxiety and addictions
  • Obsessive compulsive nature
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Poor distress tolerance
  • Poor emotional regulation

How are eating disorders in children different from eating disorders in teens or adults?

Eating disorders in children are often different to the eating disorders that teens and adults suffer with. Children can be fussy eaters. This is not a sign of an eating disorder, it is simply part of growing up. Children tend to experience eating disorders that are not related to weight or body image.

These include:

  • Pica: This is a tendency to eat things that are not food, such as crayons, sand, chalk, etc.Untreated, this can have serious complications such as intestinal obstruction.
  • Rumination disorder: This is where children chew their food and then spit it out (when there is no gastrointestinal cause). This can lead to malnutrition if not treated.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake disorder: This is a severe form of fussy eating, where a child refuses to eat foods and/or will only eat a certain food. It can lead to nutritional deficiency and a dependence on nutritional supplements, so it’s important that it’s treated promptly.

There are cases where children develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, but this is less common. Anorexia and bulimia are more likely to develop in adolescence and early adulthood.

What treatment options are available to help overcome eating disorders?

There are various treatment options for eating disorders, and these depend on the severity of the disorder. For severe cases, particularly with anorexia, hospitalization is sometimes necessary, if weight drops to dangerous levels. In many cases, however, recovery can be achieved through counseling. It’s best to choose a counselor who has experience in treating eating disorders.

Different types of counseling can be effective in treating eating disorders. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), family therapy, and counseling for depression. Family therapy can help family members to better understand their lovedone’s disorder and offer the right kind of support for recovery.

How can Christian counseling help my friend or family member overcome their eating disorder?

Christian counseling for eating disorders is similar to secular counseling, but offers so much more. San Diego Christian counselors are highly trained to help eating disorder sufferers look to Christ for their healing and recovery. The counselors at San Diego Christian Counseling can help your loved one to use faith-based tools that can lead them towards wholeness. Using biblical principles, faith, and prayer in conjunction with traditional counseling methods aids in recovery for your loved one who is battling with an eating disorder.

Inner healing and peace are important parts of the recovery process in Christian counseling for eating disorders. This helps people to regain control, as most people with eating disorders generally feel out of control. This is foundational for further healing and recovery.

For teens with eating disorders, specialists in Christian counseling for adolescent eating disorders can help teens overcome their eating disorder. As well as counseling for underlying issues, Christian counseling for teens helps build confidence and gain a better understanding of their disorder. San Diego Christian counselors can offer a wide range of tools and strategies to help your teen recover and begin living the life that Christ intended for them to live.

Get Connected With a Christian Counselor
Contact Trish at reception
424-361-6198