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Eating Disorders, Depression, Anxiety — These Often Intertwine

Because mental health is incredibly complex, issues rarely come in tidy packages that are easy to diagnose and treat. Instead, there’s ample crossover between mental illnesses — someone who has a substance use disorder may have arrived there through trauma. Or a person with an eating disorder is often also dealing with depression or anxiety. In fact, up to 65% of people with eating disorders fit this description.

It’s this connection that Dr. Diana Ghelber and the team here at Institute for Advanced Psychiatry want to focus on here — eating disorders that occur alongside issues like depression and anxiety. Let’s take a look.

Eating disorders at a glance

There are many different types of eating disorders and most present themselves as disturbances in eating behaviors. What fuels these disturbances, however, can vary, but there are very complex and unhealthy thoughts and emotions behind most eating disorders.

At any given time, eating disorders affect up to 5% of the population — mostly women between the ages of 12 and 35.

The most common eating disorders include:

It’s important to note that not everyone who has an eating disorder is underweight. Many people with eating disorders are of average weight or they’re overweight. In other words, eating disorders don’t describe a person’s body type so much as their relationship with food.

Behind the eating disorder

Eating disorders can, and do, stand alone as a mental health issues, but more often than not, they coexist with other conditions, such as:

Let’s single out depression as an example of why eating disorders are often tied to other mental health issues. Studies show that between 50% and 75% of those with an eating disorder also display signs of depression. The body dissatisfaction, feelings of low self-worth, and overwhelming sadness and hopelessness create a vicious cycle that can keep people trapped in an eating disorder.

By the same token, if a person is incredibly anxious and they worry excessively about how others perceive them, body issues can come into play and lead to an eating disorder.

While mental health issues like anxiety and depression often precede an eating disorder, the connection goes in the other direction, as well. If a person first develops an eating disorder and can’t break free, this can create a good deal of anxiety or lead to depression.

Treating the eating disorder and your mental health

Dr. Ghelber has considerable experience helping patients with eating disorders, and she understands that addressing all aspects of a patient’s mental health is critical. If there’s a comorbidity, Dr. Ghelber makes sure to address both for the best results.

How she and her team go about this varies from one patient to the next, but treatments at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry can include one or more of the following:

If you or someone in your family is struggling with an eating disorder and other mental health issues, help is just a click away. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at one of our offices in Granbury or Fort Worth, Texas.

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