Coping With A Loved Ones’ Eating Disorder throughout the holidays

For most people, the vacation season could be a wonderful time of year. it’s usually a time of family reunion, socializing, and celebration

For most people,Guest Posting the vacation season could be a wonderful time of year. it’s usually a time of family reunion, socializing, and celebration – a time when families, friends, and coworkers come back together to share good will and good food. The season is meant to be bright, happy, and choked with the simplest of relationships. Yet, for people who suffer with eating disorders, This is|this is usually|this can be often the worst time of the year. For people who are trapped in the private hell of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, the holidays usually amplify their personal struggles, inflicting them great internal pain and turmoil.

At Center for change, we’ve got asked many patients over the years to share from their private experiences what the holidays are like throughout the years they suffered with an eating disorder. the ladies quoted in this article are of different ages, however all suffered with the illness for several years. As you read the subsequent passages you may feel something of the agony of suffering with an eating disorder at this festive time of year. India holidays

“Unlike any other traditional teenager, I perpetually hated it when the vacation season would roll around. It meant that i might ought to face my 2 worst enemies – food and folks, and plenty of them. I perpetually felt fully out of place and such a wicked kid in such a contented environment. i was the sole person who didn’t love food, people, and celebrations. Rather, holidays on behalf of me were a celebration of worry and isolation. i might lock myself in my area. maybe nobody else gained weight over the holidays, however simply the smell of food added weight to my body. My anorexia destroyed any happiness or relationships I may possibly have had.” -Nineteen-year-old girl India holiday Packages

“The holiday season is always the foremost troublesome time of year in addressing my eating disorder. Holidays, in my family, tend to center around food. the mix of addressing the anxiety of being around family and also the target food tends to be an enormous trigger on behalf of me to easily fall into my eating disorder behaviors. i want to have faith in outside support to best address the stresses of the holidays.” -Twenty-one-year-old girl

“Over the past few years, throughout the Thanksgiving and xmas holiday season I have felt horrible. I felt trapped and like the food was out to get me. I lied on endless occasions to avoid all of the parties and big dinners that go along with the holidays. I felt horrible regarding my body and failed to wish anyone to envision me eat for worry they might build judgments regarding me.” -Eighteen-year-old girl

These quotes from women tormented by anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating reveal the emotional intensity they feel throughout the vacation season. Their worry of gaining weight and becoming, in their minds, fat, gross, and disgusting, is that the monster they need to touch upon when they partake of any of the foods that are thus wonderful and common to the holidays. Goa Holidays

Starving for the holidays – A Tale of Anorexia

Those struggling with anorexia are terrified of the holidays as a result of they need no plan what a traditional amount of food is for themselves. Most of them feel that anything they eat will mean instantaneous weight gain. In fact, a number of them have said that simply the sight or smell of food is terrifying to them as a result of their worry of being fat or becoming fat is thus ever-present in their minds. For some, simply brooding about food is enough to make intense turmoil, pain, and guilt. Anorexia creates tremendous guilt regarding any quite indulgence involving food. The eating of food becomes evidence, in their mind, that they are weak, out of control, and undisciplined. Anorexic men and girls are usually terrified of being seen eating food or of having people consider them whereas they eat. One shopper felt that each eye was on her at holiday gatherings. many suffering with anorexia have shared their feelings of being immobilized by their fears regarding food.

“My life with an eating disorder throughout the holidays could be a living hell – constant hi

ding and worry, confused regarding life and hating every moment being surrounded by food. There was so much pressure, so many stares and glances, and days with endless comments. My whole life was a multitude. There was so much pain and guilt within me and that i didn’t grasp where to turn, except to my eating disorder. I hated the pressure of eating the food, the constant worrying of offending others.” -Twenty-two-year-old girl

“It’s hard to be around all the food and festivities. When i am hurting within and struggling with what “normal” food parts even are, i want the help, emotional understanding, and support of family and people. “Handle with care, however please handle.” settle for me the means i am. Let me back in the family” -Twenty-three-year-old girl

The importance of those quotes from shoppers in treatment for anorexia is found in their honest expression of the tremendous pressure and conflict they feel within in response to the conventional food and social activities of the season. Their internal suffering and pain are usually hidden from those around them by their continual remarks regarding “being fat,” or can also be hidden in their patterns of avoidance and withdrawal from social involvements.

The Hidden Beast of holiday Feasts – Tales of Bulimia and Binge Eating

On the opposite finish of the eating disorder spectrum, a girl with severe bulimia or binge eating disorder finds the holidays are a real nightmare as a result of there is so much stress on food that they become preoccupied with it. Binge eating and subsequent purges become even more prevalent as a result of many of the foods and sweets that are related to holiday celebrations are very engaging to them. the holidays are often a time of convenient indulgence, however additionally a time of great shame and self-reproach attributable to their secret life. Some even use the binge eating and/or purging as a variety of self-punishment throughout the holidays.

Women who are suffering with binge eating or bulimia usually live out this painful eating disorder hell in private and in secret, and sometimes feel great self contempt. to many of their family and friends things might look positive and traditional even whereas the sufferer feels vital despair and negativity regarding their loss of self-control. Those whose family members know about their eating disorder carry this awful feeling that they are the most attraction at the vacation dinner, where every trip to the food or to the toilet is seen as a major defeat and disappointment to their family.

“Christmas is that the hardest time with my bulimia. so much food, so much love, and so much joy, however I could not feel the love or joy, thus I indulged in the food as a replacement. it had been hard to envision everybody thus happy before I created the trek to the toilet. I felt unworthy to be happy. I didn’t deserve the love and joy. I’ve discovered that if I can target the love and joy, everything else falls into place” -Eighteen-year-old-woman

“The secrecy and lying build it very troublesome on behalf of me throughout the vacation season. I have to make a decision whether or not to limit my food or to binge and then sneak away to purge.” -Twenty-two-year-old-woman

Some of the painful consequences of binge eating and bulimia are found in the time, planning, and dishonesty that’s needed to protect and canopy up their eating disorder throughout the holidays. They usually feel hatred for themselves for the continued deception to family and friends to excuse or make a case for their behaviors. in addition, they live in constant worry of being “found out” by their vital others, or in worry of frequently letting others down attributable to their inability to stop their compulsive behaviors.

Family and Friends – Turning Potential Triggers into Gifts of Support

Holiday ideals epitomize what is good regarding family and alternative personal relationships. Activities throughout this time of year can involve family members and friends in intense and sometimes emotional ways. sadly, those with eating disorders can notice it terrifying to be emotionally close with people. In such situations they’ll feel vulnerable and unsafe, and then revert to their eating disorder to revive a way of control and self-protection.

Some family dynamics, such as conflict, are often triggering to those with eating disorder difficulties. Struggles with perfectionism, feelings of rejection, disapproval, and worry of being controlled, are all cited frequently by women who are suffering with the illness. Harboring robust feelings and beliefs that folks, family members, or friends notice them unacceptable, inadequate, or disappointing is difficult for anyone, however is especially devastating to someone with a painful eating disorder. Being immersed during a family setting throughout the holidays has the potential to dredge up old issues, fears, conflicts, and worries regarding family relationships. The ensuing emotional disruption can feed the eating disorder and exacerbate the matter.

“Having an eating disorder throughout the holidays presents quite a contradiction in my mind. I anticipate all the food and obtain excited, whereas at constant time I dread the numerous family members around. I feel that the family is over to “watch”. i do know that they merely wish to reach out and facilitate, however I feel that a big facilitate would be to create a concerted effort to shift the vacation focus from the food to the underlying purpose. I wish the food could be a minor deal, simply an adjunct to the vacation, rather than the main target.” -Twenty-year-old girl

“Holidays, with all the food and family commotion, are pure hell after you have an eating disorder. For me, when the main target isn’t on food and is on the important reason for the vacation, it is a huge facilitate. My family helped me out with this one, however I had to try and do most of it internally. Remember, it’s simply food, and we have more power than food.” -Thirty-nine-year-old girl

The following suggestions resulted from a survey question we asked patients in treatment: “What 3 suggestions do you have for family and friends who wish to help the vacation season go to a small degree higher for a loved one suffering with an eating disorder?” the ladies providing these suggestions vary in age from fourteen to forty-four, and their suggestions provide some valuable insight and understanding that would be helpful to you as a fan or a family member. Being compassionate regarding the struggles of the eating disorder illness can facilitate build the holidays less of a battle for those you like. The suggestions are:

- don’t build a big issue regarding what your loved one is eating. to a small degree bit of encouragement is okay.
- don’t focus an excessive amount of on food, it’s going to only fuel the eating disorder.
- raise her how she is doing and see if she wants any facilitate.
- don’t become angry regarding how the she feels, simply do your best to support her.
- provide plenty of support and remember of what may be making anxiety and try and perceive what she feels. Be understanding, kind, and supportive.
- pay quality time along with your loved one.
- confirm that the primary focus of the vacation isn’t on the food however rather on the family and also the valued time you may share together.
- permit for alternative activities that don’t involve food, such as games, singing carols together, gap gifts, decorating, and spending time simply talking together.
- permit her to create a dish that she would feel comfy eating.
- Before the vacation itself, and before family gatherings, build agreements regarding how you can best facilitate your loved one with food. Honor the agreements you create.
- don’t provide her loud and a spotlight drawing praise when she does eat.
- don’t cite diets, weight loss, or weight gain. It causes great anxiety and may increase a felt need to engage in eating disorder behavior.
- don’t stare.

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Pschological Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms are the patient’s complaints. They are highly subjective and amenable to suggestion and to alterations in the patient’s mood and other mental processes.

The first encounter between psychiatrist or therapist and patient (or client) is multi-phased. The mental health practitioner notes the patient’s history and administers or prescribes a physical examination to rule out certain medical conditions. Armed with the results,Guest Posting the diagnostician now observes the patient carefully and compiles lists of signs and symptoms, grouped into syndromes.

Symptoms are the patient’s complaints. They are highly subjective and amenable to suggestion and to alterations in the patient’s mood and other mental processes. Symptoms are no more than mere indications. Signs, on the other hand, are objective and measurable. Signs are evidence of the existence, stage, and extent of a pathological state. Headache is a symptom – short-sightedness (which may well be the cause of the headache) is a sign.

Here is a partial list of the most important signs and symptoms in alphabetical order:


We all experience emotions, but each and every one of us expresses them differently. Affect is HOW we express our innermost feelings and how other people observe and interpret our expressions. Affect is characterized by the type of emotion involved (sadness, happiness, anger, etc.) and by the intensity of its expression. Some people have flat affect: they maintain “poker faces”, monotonous, immobile, apparently unmoved. This is typical of the Schizoid Personality Disorder Others have blunted, constricted, or broad (healthy) affect. Patients with the dramatic (Cluster B) personality disorders – especially the Histrionic and the Borderline – have exaggerate and labile (changeable) affect. They are “drama queens”.

In certain mental health disorders, the affect is inappropriate. For instance: such people laugh when they recount a sad or horrifying event or when they find themselves is morbid settings (e.g., in a funeral).

Also see: Mood.

Read about inappropriate affect in narcissists


We have all come across situations and dilemmas which evoked equipotent – but opposing and conflicting – emotions or ideas. Now, imagine someone with a permanent state of inner turmoil: her emotions come in mutually exclusive pairs, her thoughts and conclusions arrayed in contradictory dyads. The result is, of course, extreme indecision, to the point of utter paralysis and inaction. Sufferers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders and the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder are highly ambivalent.


When we lose the urge to seek pleasure and to prefer it to nothingness or even pain, we become anhedonic. Depression inevitably involves anhedonia. the depressed are unable to conjure sufficient mental energy to get off the couch and do something because they find everything equally boring and unattractive.


Diminished appetite to the point of refraining from eating. Whether it is part of a depressive illness or a body dysmorphic disorder (erroneous perception of one’s body as too fat) is still debated. Anorexia is one of a family of eating disorders which also includes bulimia (compulsive gorging on food and then its forced purging, usually by vomiting).

Learn more about comorbidity of eating disorders and personality disorders


A kind of unpleasant (dysphoric), mild fear, with no apparent external reason. Anxiety is akin to dread, or apprehension, or fearful anticipation of some imminent but diffuse and unspecified danger. The mental state of anxiety (and the concomitant hypervigilance) has physiological complements: tensed muscle tone, elevated blood pressure, tachycardia, and sweating (arousal). Generalized Anxiety Disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed as a personality disorder


More precisely: autistic thinking and inter-relating (relating to other people). Fantasy-infused thoughts. The patient’s cognitions derive from an overarching and all-pervasive fantasy life. Moreover, the patient infuses people and events around him or her with fantastic and completely subjective meanings. The patient regards the external world as an extension or projection of the internal one. He, thus, often withdraws completely and retreats into his inner, private realm, unavailable to communicate and interact with others.

Asperger’s Disorder, one of the spectrum of autistic disorders, is sometimes misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Automatic obeisance or obedience

Automatic, unquestioning, and immediate obeisance of all commands, even the most manifestly absurd and dangerous ones. This suspension of critical judgment is sometimes an indication of incipient catatonia.

BlockingHalted, frequently interrupted speech to the point of incoherence indicates a parallel disruption of thought processes. The patient appears to try hard to remember what it was that he or she were saying or thinking (as if they “lost the thread” of conversation).


“Human sculptures” are patients who freeze in any posture and position that they are placed, no matter how painful and unusual. Typical of catatonics.


A syndrome comprised of various signs, amongst which are: catalepsy, mutism, stereotypy, negativism, stupor, automatic obedience, echolalia, and echopraxia. Until recently it was thought to be related to schizophrenia, but this view has been discredited when the biochemical basis for schizophrenia had been discovered. The current thinking is that catatonia is an exaggerated form of mania (in other words: an affective disorder). It is a feature of catatonic schizophrenia, though, and also appears in certain psychotic states and mental disorders that have organic (medical) roots.

Cerea Flexibilitas

Literally: wax-like flexibility. In the common form of catalepsy, the patient offers no resistance to the re-arrangement of his limbs or to the re-alignment of her posture. In Cerea Flexibilitas, there is some resistance, though it is very mild, much like the resistance a sculpture made of soft wax would offer.


When the train of thought and speech is often derailed by unrelated digressions, based on chaotic associations. The patient finally succeeds to express his or her main idea but only after much effort and wandering. In extreme cases considered to be a communication disorder.

Clang Associations

Rhyming or punning associations of words with no logical connection or any discernible relationship between them. Typical of manic episodes, psychotic states, and schizophrenia.

Clouding (Also: Clouding of Consciousness)

The patient is wide awake but his or her awareness of the environment is partial, distorted, or impaired. Clouding also occurs when one gradually loses consciousness (for instance, as a result of intense pain or lack of oxygen).


Involuntary repetition of a stereotyped and ritualistic action or movement, usually in connection with a wish or a fear. The patient is aware of the irrationality of the compulsive act (in other words: she knows that there is no real connection between her fears and wishes and what she is repeatedly compelled to do). Most compulsive patients find their compulsions tedious, bothersome, distressing, and unpleasant – but resisting the urge results in mounting anxiety from which only the compulsive act provides much needed relief. Compulsions are common in obsessive-compulsive disorders, the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), and in certain types of schizophrenia.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) Read about the compulsive acts of the narcissist Concrete Thinking Inability or diminished capacity to form abstractions or to think using abstract categories. The patient is unable to consider and formulate hypotheses or to grasp and apply metaphors. Only one layer of meaning is attributed to each word or phrase and figures of speech are taken literally. Consequently, nuances are not detected or appreciated. A common feature of schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, and certain organic disorders.

Read about narcissism and Asperger’s Disorder


The constant and unnecessary fabrication of information or events to fill in gaps in the patient’s memory, biography or knowledge, or to substitute for unacceptable reality. Common in the Cluster B personality disorders (narcissistic, histrionic, borderline, and antisocial) and in organic memory impairment or the amnestic syndrome (amnesia).
Read about the Narcissist’s Confabulated Life


Complete (though often momentary) loss of orientation in relation to one’s location, time, and to other people. Usually the result of impaired memory (often occurs in dementia) or attention deficit (for instance, in delirium).

Also see: Disorientation.


Delirium is a syndrome which involves clouding, confusion, restlessness, psychomotor disorders (retardation or, on the opposite pole, agitation), and mood and affective disturbances (lability). Delirium is not a constant state. It waxes and wanes and its onset is sudden, usually the result of some organic affliction of the brain.


A belief, idea, or conviction firmly held despite abundant information to the contrary. The partial or complete loss of reality test is the first indication of a psychotic state or episode.

Beliefs, ideas, or convictions shared by other people, members of the same collective, are not, strictly speaking, delusions, although they may be hallmarks of shared psychosis. There are many types of delusions:

I. Paranoid

The belief that one is being controlled or persecuted by stealth powers and conspiracies.

2. Grandiose-magical

The conviction that one is important, omnipotent, possessed of occult powers, or a historic figure.

3. Referential (ideas of reference)

The belief that external, objective events carry hidden or coded messages or that one is the subject of discussion, derision, or opprobrium, even by total strangers.

The Delusional Way Out Psychosis and Delusions Ideas of Reference


Simultaneous impairment of various mental faculties, especially the intellect, memory, judgment, abstract thinking, and impulse control due to brain damage, usually as an outcome of organic illness. Dementia ultimately leads to the transformation of the patient’s whole personality. Dementia does not involve clouding and can have acute or slow (insidious) onset. Some dementia states are reversible.


Feeling that one’s body has changed shape or that specific organs have become elastic and are not under one’s control. Usually coupled with “out of body” experiences. Common in a variety of mental health and physiological disorders: depression, anxiety, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and hypnagogic states. Often observed in adolescents.

See: Derealization.


A loosening of associations. A pattern of speech in which unrelated or loosely-related ideas are expressed hurriedly and forcefully, with frequent topical shifts and with no apparent internal logic or reason.

See: Incoherence.


Feeling that one’s immediate environment is unreal, dream-like, or somehow altered. See: Depersonalization.
Warped Reality

Dereistic Thinking

Inability to incorporate reality-based facts and logical inference into one’s thinking. Fantasy-based thoughts.


Not knowing what year, month, or day it is or not knowing one’s location (country, state, city, street, or building one is in). Also: not knowing who one is, one’s identity. One of the signs of delirium.


Imitation by way of exactly repeating another person’s speech.

Involuntary, semiautomatic, uncontrollable, and repeated imitation of the speech of others. Observed in organic mental disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, psychosis, and catatonia.

See: Echopraxia.


Imitation by way or exactly repeating another person’s movements. Involuntary, semiautomatic, uncontrollable, and repeated imitation of the movements of others. Observed in organic mental disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, psychosis, and catatonia.

See: Echolalia.

Flight of Ideas

Rapidly verbalized train of unrelated thoughts or of thoughts related only via relatively-coherent associations. Still, in its extreme forms, flight of ideas involves cognitive incoherence and disorganization. Appears as a sign of mania, certain organic mental health disorders, schizophrenia, and psychotic states.

Also see: Pressure of Speech and Loosening of Associations.

More about the manic phase of the Bipolar disorder

Folie a Deux (Madness in Twosome, Shared Psychosis)

The sharing of delusional (often persecutory) ideas and beliefs by two or more (folie a plusieurs) persons who cohabitate or form a social unit (e.g., a family, a cult, or an organization). One of the members in each of these groups is dominant and is the source of the delusional content and the instigator of the idiosyncratic behaviors that accompany the delusions.

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