Seven Critical Facts About Anorexia and Eating Disorder Clinics
In this article we are going to talk about why anorexia is serious, and why you need to get help as soon as possible. Plus, some resources that can get you help.
If any of these important facts/symptoms resonate with you or a loved one, then call our Mental Health helpline. This is a free service that will find you the best treatment center for your specific situation 855-995-1726.
Facts About Anorexia
1. Anorexia Causes Bad Breath
This first fact is something that you may not even know or have noticed, and that is bad breath.
Now, this has nothing to do with how much you floss or brush your teeth, it’s nothing to do with how you are hygienically.
2. Anorexia is literally Eating You Alive
What happens when you’re malnourished for a long period of time is that your body begins to eat itself, for lack of a better term.
It can eat at your muscle tissue, it’ll eat away anything that your body doesn’t need right now, and for survival.
The bad breath is something that’s coming from within your body, because it’s eating on itself and decomposing on itself, and so what you’re breathing out is that smell, and it can be really difficult to get rid of if you’re not nourishing yourself.
…The bad breath is something that’s coming from within your body, because it’s eating on itself and decomposing on itself, and so what you’re breathing out is that smell, and it can be really difficult to get rid of if you’re not nourishing yourself…
It can also really hinder some of your relationships, so it’s something you should definitely pay attention to and get help as soon as possible.
When your body is lacking in nutrients and the food that it needs, it’s going to find other ways to get nutrition, and so once it runs out of what’s in our stomach, it’s going to begin eating different portions of our body, number one being muscle.
Fact: Your Body begins eating muscle when it gets no nutrition. Your heart is a muscle!
Your heart is a muscle, and so it begins to digest portions of your heart, and your heart size goes down.
The reason that is so scary for someone who’s struggling, for the family around them, for the therapist who’s treating them, is that you can have heart attacks, and it’s the most common way for people who struggle with eating disorders to pass away.
Fact: The most common way for people who struggle with eating disorders to pass away is a heart attack!
I’ve seen it happen personally, I’ve had colleagues go through it, I’ve seen families go through it. It’s really scary.
- palpitations or arrhythmias,
- you may just feel something off,
- You may feel your heart beating a little irregularly.
3. Anorexia Causes Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
Now, this one’s something that’s probably a little bit more common, you’ve probably heard of, and that’s osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Your body will find the nutrients it needs to survive. Your bones have lots of nutrients, lots of calcium, and other minerals. By starving yourself, you are forcing your body to leach nutrition from your bones, in a last ditch effort to survive.
By starving yourself, you are forcing your body to leach nutrition from your bones, in a last ditch effort to survive.
It will first show itself as osteopenia, which is kind of, if you’ve seen the pictures in a doctor’s office, it shows the bone, and it’ll show little divots in it, and it’s kind of more porous, and that’s the beginning stages of osteoporosis, which is a more severe form of that.
This is something that your doctors can test you for.nbut…
You have to be honest with your treatment team, with your therapist, with your doctor. If you’re honest with them about what you’re struggling with, they will run these tests for you.
Your treatment team will make sure that your bones are strong, and if you catch it early, you can stop it. Some of the medications out there now can even repair a little bit of the damage.
So if you start treating these things now, while they’re in osteopenia and not in osteoporosis, then it will make your bones stronger, so that when we’re old, you don’t break a hip because of weak bones, right?
4. Anorexia Causes Hair Loss and Bad Skin
Anorexia affects your skin and hair. You’ll lose your hair and damage your skin. You’ll start losing your hair, and our skin, because you need a lot of water, you need a lot of nutrients, you need the proper green leafy vegetables and proteins and fats to make our skin supple and gorgeous, and if you’re not getting that, you will age quickly.
Now, for any of you who are clinicians, and you’ve worked in hospitals where people are being tube fed, or you’ve worked in inpatient treatment centers where people are really sick, you’ve noticed that they come in, and they say, “Oh, and your next patient will be 22,” and you look out there and you’re like, “You mean that 36-year-old waiting in the waiting room?”
It’s really sad, but it’s very true.
You can’t help it, your body cannot keep your skin healthy. A lot of my clients will even tell me, “Kati, I have wrinkles already, and I’m only 24 years old,” or “I’m only 19, why do I have wrinkles?” or they’ll have a lot of acne issues, and it’s because that’s something that our body’s not going to put energy into, and it’ll give us really difficult skin, whether it’s dry, whether you have acne, whether it’s wrinkles, and it’s really unfortunate.
The best thing that we can do for ourselves is to get a dietitian and start giving our body the nutrients it needs.
5. Anorexia Causes Brain Damage
Anorexia affects your cognitive functioning. Whether you want to admit it or not, if you’ve been struggling with anorexia for any length of time, you have noticed that your focus is not there, your memory, it’s really hard.
School can be so hard, because our brain works on proper nutrition.
You need fats, you need green leafy vegetables, you need proteins, you need sugars, you need things to keep all your neurons firing and for us to be really active, and “oh, I remember that,” and
“oh, that’s a funny joke from that movie we watched six months ago.”
We struggle to remember things and to stay focused. We will struggle to stay awake. That’s oftentimes why a lot of my clients, we work on lowering their caffeine intake, because our body’s tired.
It needs the energy to keep us going and to keep us focused, and I can tell you right now, because I’m studying for my exams, I am never hungrier than after I just took a three-hour practice exam. I am crazed for food, and that’s because our brain actually uses a lot of energy to function.
If you are struggling with this, I encourage you, please look for a therapist in your area and a dietitian so that we can get your body the nutrients it needs, so that you can do better in school, you can function better with your friends, and you can be there and be more present, okay?
6. Anorexia Does Not Discriminate
Another fact about anorexia is that it does not discriminate. Doesn’t matter how old you, doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, doesn’t matter what religion you are, doesn’t matter where you live.
You can be anywhere in the world, you can be any sex, any whatever, and you can still struggle, because what I’ve talked about forever is that an eating disorder is really a coping skill, right?Has nothing to do with us being a certain race, or a certain age, or any of that, and the worst thing that we can keep sharing and keep believing as the “truth” is that it’s a white rich girl problem.
I’m here you to tell you, that’s a bunch of bullshit, and it’s just going to make people feel more alienated, and we know, right, we know that it doesn’t discriminate.
We know that it’s a struggle for all of us, and the more we can share this information, the more you can hit the “like” button, you can put this on your page, you can let people know, so that people know it’s okay to get help, and we’re all in this together, right, we’re a community.
We don’t discriminate, eating disorders don’t discriminate, and we’re here to get better.
7. Final Fact – You Can Recover From Anorexia
The final fact about anorexia is that you can recover. You can get better. I know it’s hard. I know that when we first start in recovery, we can think that it’s just getting worse, but it’s worth it.
If we find healthy coping skills to replace this unhealthy coping skill, we can get better. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over, whether it’s in my own practice, whether it’s in the clinics that
I’ve worked at, whether it’s online and you’ve let me know how many days since you’ve last utilized your eating disorder, or you just got out of treatment, you’re doing great.
I know that it’s possible. I know it’s hard work, but you’re worth it, you can do it, and together, we will break through the stigma of eating disorders, we will break through the stigma that they only affect certain types of people, we will help share information and change the way that people get information about this and receive help.
Have questions and need to speak to an expert? Have your health insurance card ready and call 855-995-1726.