According to science writer Trisha Gura, eating disorders affect millions of adult women, not just teenage girls. These serious food issues, including anorexia and bulimia, can surface in adolescence and may continue to manifest themselves throughout a woman's life. Dr. Oz talks to Trisha about the signs of eating disorders and ways to overcome them.
Trisha says eating disorders cover a wide spectrum, and there's no one-size-fits-all cause. "Eating disorders are caused by a mix of three things: genetics, psychology and culture," she says. High-stress life situations—including puberty, pregnancy, marriage and mid-life crises—can often trigger an eating disorder or a relapse, she says.
According to Trisha, the following behaviors could be signs of an eating disorder:
Eating in secret
Total preoccupation with weight
Total preoccupation with food
Eating a lot, then retreating to the bathroom
Trisha says the first step to overcoming an eating disorder is identifying the problem. Then, either the person suffering from the disorder or a loved one needs to reach out for help, she says. Many therapies are available, from cognitive behavioral therapy to psychotherapy. Dr. Trisha also recommends joining a support group, or engaging in alternative therapies such as yoga, Pilates, practicing mindfulness, biofeedback and spiritual practices.
"It's all about finding your voice again because the eating disorder is secrets and hiding," she says. "So when you can take it and put it out there and you have a voice, then the power is out—not in—and that's when real healing takes place."