Disordered Eating: When To Seek Care

Disordered Eating: When to Seek Care

This article can help you better understand the signs, symptoms, and possible consequences of disordered eating. If you are experiencing any of the below thoughts or behaviors, know that you are not alone and there is help available.

What Is Disordered Eating (And What Are Eating Disorders)?

The term disordered eating applies to a wide range of behaviors. Restricting food intake, purging (making yourself vomit), and binge eating, among other behaviors, is often considered disordered eating. However, disordered eating is not an official diagnosis. Also, struggles with body image are often present with disordered eating, though this is not always the case.

On the other hand, eating disorders are diagnoses. Doctors and certain mental health professionals are trained to diagnose eating disorders. They are diagnosed when certain disordered eating behaviors are present, along with impaired physical health or mental health challenges. Eating disorder diagnoses include, but aren’t limited to, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

How Can Goodpath Help?

Based on your responses to our initial assessment, you are feeling preoccupied by your eating habits, weight, and/or your body shape. These feelings are common, and your Goodpath program can help. Your program provides you with digital resources about diet (the way we eat), exercise, body image, and more. Take a look at the Home screen and Library section of your Goodpath app to explore.

How Do I Know If I Need More Help?

Your Goodpath program can help you deal with difficult thoughts and behaviors about food and body image. However, it is not designed to treat disordered eating or eating disorders. If you are engaging in any of the following behaviors, it is a good idea to seek additional help outside of Goodpath:

  • Severely restricting your food intake (eating much less than you know you should, especially consistently)

  • Having any level of food restriction that results in severe fatigue, constipation, acid reflux, hair thinning or hair loss, and/or loss of menstrual cycle in females

  • Purging (making yourself vomit)

  • Excessive exercise, especially to “make up for” a big meal

  • Abuse of weight loss medication (using in any way other than as directed by your doctor)

  • Abuse of diuretic or laxative medication (using in any way other than as directed by your doctor)

  • Misuse of prescribed medications like insulin

  • Significant weight loss (for most people, this is more than ~15 pounds in the last 3 months)

Who Can Help?

If you are engaging in one or more of the above behaviors, please reach out to your doctor.

If you do not have a doctor or a mental health professional, you can use the following resources to find help: