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7 STEPS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . .

COMMON CHALLENGES OF DECISION MAKING

Although following the steps outlined above will help you make more effective decisions, there are some pitfalls to look out for. Here are common challenges you may face, along with best practices to help you avoid them. 

  • Having too much or not enough information. Gathering relevant information is key when approaching the decision making process, but it’s important to identify how much background information is truly required. “An overload of information can leave you confused and misguided, and prevents you from following your intuition,” according to Corporate Wellness Magazine.

In addition, relying on one single source of information can lead to bias and misinformation, which can have disastrous effects down the line.

  • Misidentifying the problem. In many cases, the issues surrounding your decision will be obvious. However, there will be times when the decision is complex and you aren’t sure where the main issue lies. Conduct thorough research and speak with internal experts who experience the problem firsthand in order to mitigate this. It will save you time and resources in the long run, Corporate Wellness Magazine says.
  • Overconfidence in the outcome. Even if you follow the steps of the decision making process, there is still a chance that the outcome won’t be exactly what you had in mind. That’s why it’s so important to identify a valid option that is plausible and achievable. Being overconfident in an unlikely outcome can lead to adverse results.

Decision making is a vital skill in the business workplace, particularly for managers and those in leadership positions. Following a logical procedure like the one outlined here, along with being aware of common challenges, can help ensure both thoughtful decision making and positive results.

 

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7 STEPS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . . THIS PROCESS WORKS FOR DECISION MAKING IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AS WELL.

Managers seek out a range of information to clarify their options once they have identified an issue that requires a decision. Managers may seek to determine potential causes of a problem, the people and processes involved in the issue and any constraints placed on the decision-making process,” Chron Small Business says.

  • Identify alternatives. Once you have a clear understanding of the issue, it’s time to identify the various solutions at your disposal. It’s likely that you have many different options when it comes to making your decision, so it is important to come up with a range of options. This helps you determine which course of action is the best way to achieve your objective.

  • Weigh the evidence. In this step, you’ll need to “evaluate for feasibility, acceptability and desirability” to know which alternative is best, according to management experts Phil Higson and Anthony Sturgess. Managers need to be able to weigh pros and cons, then select the option that has the highest chances of success. It may be helpful to seek out a trusted second opinion to gain a new perspective on the issue at hand.

  • Choose among alternatives. When it’s time to make your decision, be sure that you understand the risks involved with your chosen route. You may also choose a combination of alternatives now that you fully grasp all relevant information and potential risks.

  • Take action. Next, you’ll need to create a plan for implementation. This involves identifying what resources are required and gaining support from employees and stakeholders. Getting others onboard with your decision is a key component of executing your plan effectively, so be prepared to address any questions or concerns that may arise.

  • Review your decision. An often-overlooked but important step in the decision making process is evaluating your decision for effectiveness. Ask yourself what you did well and what can be improved next time.

“Even the most experienced business owners can learn from their mistakes … be ready to adapt your plan as necessary, or to switch to another potential solution,” Chron Small Business explains. If you find your decision didn’t work out the way you planned, you may want to revisit some of the previous steps to identify a better choice.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . 

 

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7 STEPS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS

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THIS PROCESS WORKS IN YOUR PERSONAL LIVE AS WELL. 

In general, the decision making process helps managers and other business professionals solve problems by examining alternative choices and deciding on the best route to take. Using a step-by-step approach is an efficient way to make thoughtful, informed decisions that have a positive impact on your organization’s short- and long-term goals.

The business decision making process is commonly divided into seven steps. Managers may utilize many of these steps without realizing it, but gaining a clearer understanding of best practices can improve the effectiveness of your decisions.

STEPS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS

The following are the seven key steps of the decision making process.

  • Identify the decision. The first step in making the right decision is recognizing the problem or opportunity and deciding to address it. Determine why this decision will make a difference to your customers or fellow employees.
  • Gather information. Next, it’s time to gather information so that you can make a decision based on facts and data. This requires making a value judgment, determining what information is relevant to the decision at hand, along with how you can get it. Ask yourself what you need to know in order to make the right decision, then actively seek out anyone who needs to be involved.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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Effects of Bullying in Workplace PART TWO

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continued. . . .

Why am I being bullied?

There are a variety of reasons why an individual is targeted by bullies. The answer may simply be because you are different in some way or because the bullies perceive you to be a threat to them. Bullying is an abuse of power. For some reason, the bully in your case may just want to control you. Sadly, there is no simple explanation and no two cases are the same. It’s a complex business indeed.

What matters is how you respond and what you do about the situation. If you believe you are being bullied, do some research and open up a file. Keep a diary (at home) and keep key documents, research material, policies etc., and start to strategize your case. Put a plan together.  Be careful not to remove confidential data from the workplace before redacting it but keep file notes of discussions you have with management or with HR. There is a lot of information available on the internet these days that will help you. Talk to someone you trust or call our helpline if you remain concerned and need FREE expert advice.

What are the effects of bullying?

Initial symptoms of bullying include tearfulness (for no reason), feelings of anxiety, distress, loss of confidence, loss of sleep, nausea etc. Our helpline is extremely busy on a Sunday night simply because a bullied employee will fear facing the bully on a Monday morning. Does this sound familiar?

If matters are not resolved quickly, these feelings of insecurity and ill health can escalate to something far more serious such as Work-Related Stress or other health-related disorders. Over time these can be long lasting and deep routed and trigger weeks or even months of Work-Related Stress absence. If you notice your confidence levels slipping or your performance levels dropping, examine your circumstances and start to keep a workplace diary, at home. Tearfulness, loss of sleep, headaches, nausea, fear of Monday mornings are all symptoms of a stressful situation that is starting to impact on your health. Do not ignore it. Speak to someone. Read our article on Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. 

 

 
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Effects of Bullying in Workplace

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What is indirect or subtle bullying?

Subtle Bullying is described as the actions of someone who behaves with mischief, often intentional and usually behind your back, with negative motive ie: to ease you out of your role or cause you professional embarrassment for example. It may be that the bully wants to bring you to disrepute or have you excluded in some way.  Exclusion is bullying.

 

Often, the behavior of this ' stealth like’ bullies creeps up slowly but impacts on you negatively and leaves you questioning yourself.  When confronted, the bully will go into denial. This can be extremely frustrating. The bully will be quick to blame others.  They may even blame circumstance. Bullies are cowards!  As an example employers (typically the line manager) who does not have the skills to performance or capability manage an individual may create a vexatious redundancy scenario to dismiss an employee. This does not mean to say every Redundancy situation is not genuine but the term Redundancy is far too often and inappropriately by the Corporate bully.

 If you believe you are being bullied, you do not have to prove it. All you need to do is raise a written, formal, complaint and ask your employer to arrange for someone independent to investigate your concerns. A good investigator with employment law knowledge will quickly ascertain whether anything inappropriate or unlawful is occurring.

Is bullying making me sick?

Headaches, nausea, sleeplessness are just some symptoms of stress. If you suffer from stress and your Doctor has signed you off with ‘Work-Related Stress’ it would be reasonable to say your employer is responsible for your ill health. However, what you do about it is crucial.  You cannot hold an employer responsible for something they do not know about.

 

You need to write to your employer and explain what it is that is upsetting you and what it is that has resulted in your current ill-health. The responsible employer will want to investigate matters – even if only to exonerate themselves from future risk of litigation. If an employer allows you to return to a workplace that is likely to, or has in the recent past, caused your ill health – it would be irresponsible and probably a failure of the employer's Duty of Care to provide you with a ‘safe and stress-free place of work’. You need to seek professional advice as a matter of priority in this circumstance.

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Bullying Advice for Employees PART 2

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CONTINUED. . . .

I have reported a bullying issue at work to my manager but the company won't do anything about it

Workplace bullying is more common than you might think, the world of business is fast paced and very competitive. High-pressured environments can cultivate morally questionable decision-making. Managers can seem reluctant to do anything to stop the bullying behavior within their department of organization.

 

A number of reasons could be preventing your manager from attempting to stop the bullying in your office or place of work. It could be the bully is your manager or a friend of your manager. Quite often they try to rationalize the situation in an attempt to justify the bullying as something else.

 

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Bullying Advice for Employees PART 1

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Find out what steps you can take to effectively tackle bullying at work.

When we think of bullies, we tend to remember the ones we knew at school. Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t stop there for everyone. For some, the bullying continues into adult life.

 The bullies we knew at school have continued to bully or intimidate the people around them and may have used these techniques to climb the employment ladder to a position of authority. Although there can be a fine line between a tough boss and an abusive one, bullying generally refers to being subjected to repeated emotional or even physical abuse.

 The workplace bully deliberately manipulates, belittles, intimidates and tries to control or undermine their victim using any means available to them. In this digital age, the workplace bully’s playground has now extended to cyberbullying with the use of email, mobile phones and social media sites like Twitter or Facebook.

Are you being bullied at work? 

Not all bullying is physical, bullying can take many forms and sometimes it’s difficult to prove you’re being harassed or threatened at work. When the bullying has been consistent and subtle over a sustained period, you might start to doubt your own sanity or convince yourself that it’s OK. To determine if your work colleague or boss is actually bullying you, ask yourself the following questions:

 

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Subtle workplace bullying also known as Gaslighting PART TWO

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CONTIUED. . .

What are the signs of Gaslighting

Spotting the signs of Gaslighting is easier than you might think. Signs (not exclusively) include;

A lack of openness and transparency. This may be with immediate line management in a one-on-one relationship or it may be at Corporate level involving an entire Executive Board and/or a business owner.

A reluctance to minute meetings or draw-up file-notes. We should not assume this is down to a lack of management skills. It could be intentional and therefore far more serious.

Refusal to follow policies unless it suits the business. For example, reluctance to acknowledge a verbal employee complaint or investigate a formal grievance but at the same time applying a forceful approach to performance management and disciplinary policies.

Drip-feeding information or failing to provide full facts (which we have historically described as ‘setting a person up to fail’) or repeatedly re-scheduling meetings or withholding important information.

Moving goal-posts or changing elements of an employee job description without first engaging in discussion or making reference to a change-management policy.

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Subtle workplace bullying also known as Gaslighting

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SPOTTING THE SIGNS

The term Gaslighting is a ‘label’ which embraces a cocktail of inappropriate and often manipulative workplace practices. Sadly, these unacceptable practices are commonplace.  Historically, we have described these practices as ‘subtle workplace bullying’.

 

The term Gaslighting is based on a 1944 film ‘Gaslight’ starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s character marries and mysterious things start to happen to her in her marriage. Her husband convinces her that she is imaging things, when in fact he is scheming with criminal intent.

 

Psychologists describe Gaslighting as a subtle but unhealthy manipulative behavior. An employee who is the subject of gaslighting will likely, certainly initially, struggle to understand what is occurring – similar to Bergman’s character in the film.

 

Typically, an employee cannot ‘put their finger on the problem’. They believe they are imagining things. They may even feel ‘non-credible’. All the employee knows is they feel constantly undermined or excluded and they start to develop trust issues within the workplace. Their confidence and productivity levels suffer. They start to feel unwell.  They may even be signed off work by their GP with work-related stress.

 

Gaslighting is classic abuse of power. It is bullying. It’s a manipulate power-game, which individuals or groups of individuals play within a workplace with deliberate intent to control an individual or control a situation. A perpetrator could be a co-worker or a line manager. However, Gaslighting may be cultural ie: from the top down, condoned at Corporate management level. It’s an entirely unacceptable, subtle, management style.

What are the signs of Gaslighting

Spotting the signs of Gaslighting is easier than you might think. Signs (not exclusively) include;

A lack of openness and transparency. This may be with immediate line management in a one-on-one relationship or it may be at Corporate level involving an entire Executive Board and/or a business owner.

TO BE CONTINUED. . . .

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults PART FIVE

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CONTINUED. . . .

Therapy and Other Behavioral Treatments

You may want to ask about making these part of your treatment plan, too:

  • Cognitive and behavioral therapy. It can help with self-esteem.
  • Relaxation training and stress management. These can lower anxiety and stress.
  • Life coaching. It may help you set goals. Plus, it can help you learn new ways to stay organized at home and work.
  • Job coaching or mentoring. This can help support you at work. It can help you have better working relationships and improve on-the-job performance.
  • Family education and therapy. This can help you and loved ones understand ADHD better. It can also help you all find ways to lessen how much it affects everyone’s life.
 
Other Things You Can Do to Manage ADHD

When you have ADHD, even simple tasks like grocery shopping or paying bills can sometimes feel overwhelming. Anyone can have mood swings, loss of focus, and trouble staying organized, but you might deal with these each day if you have ADHD.

Your doctor can suggest medication or other treatment to help you focus better, but there are things you can do on your own to make life with ADHD more manageable:

  • Take medications as directed. If you are taking any medications for ADHD or any other condition, take them exactly as prescribed. Taking two doses at once to catch up on missed doses can be bad for you and others. If you notice side effects or other problems, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Organize. Choose a time that’s quiet and unhurried -- maybe at night before you go to bed -- and plan out the next day, down to each task. Make a realistic list of things to complete. Alternate things you want to do with ones you don’t to help your mind stay engaged. Use a daily planner, reminder app, timer, leave notes for yourself, and set your alarm clock when you need to remember an appointment or other activity.
  • Be realistic about time: Your brain is wired differently than other people’s, and it may take you longer to get things done. That’s OK. Figure out a realistic time frame for your daily tasks -- and don’t forget to build in time for breaks if you think you’ll need them.
  • Breathe slowly. If you tend to do things you later regret, such as interrupt others or get angry at others, manage the impulse by pausing. Count to 10 while you breathe slowly instead of acting out. Usually the impulse will pass as quickly as it appeared.
  • Cut down on distractions. When it’s time to buckle down and get something done, take away the distractions. If you find yourself being distracted by loud music or the television, turn it off or use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out sounds. Put your phone on silent. Move yourself to a quieter location, or ask others to help make things less distracting. If you can, work in a room with a door you can close. Set up your space in a way that helps you focus.
  • Control clutter : Another way to quiet your brain is to clear your space of things you don’t need. It can prevent distractions, and it can help you stay organized because you’ll have fewer things to tidy up. Go paperless -- take your name off junk mailing lists and pay bills online. Get some organizational helpers like under-the-bed containers or over-the-door holders. Ask a friend to help if it seems like you’re swimming in a sea of debris and you don’t know where to start.
  • Burn off extra energy. Exercise is good for everyone, but it can do more than improve your heart health if you have ADHD. Even a little regular exercise can ease ADHD symptoms. You may need a way to get rid of some energy if you’re hyperactive or feel restless. Exercise, a hobby, or another pastime can be good choices. Shoot for 20 to 30 minutes a day. If you work in an office, a brisk walk during lunch may be the ticket to beating your brain’s afternoon slump. After you exercise, you’ll feel more focused and have more energy to stay on task.
  • Learn to say no: Impulsive behavior can be a side effect of having ADHD. This means your brain might bite off more than it can handle. If you find yourself overwhelmed, try to say no to a few things. Ask yourself: Can I really get this done? Be honest with yourself and with others about what’s possible and what’s not. Once you get comfortable saying no, you’ll be able to enjoy the things you say yes to even more.
  • Reward yourself: Sticking to a task can be easier when there’s a mood booster at the end. Before you tackle a project, decide on a reward for yourself once you’re done. Positive reinforcement can help you stay the course.
  • Ask for help. We all need help from time to time, and it's important to not be afraid to ask for it. If you have disruptive thoughts or behaviors, ask a counselor if they have any ideas you can try that could help you control them.
 
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . .

How Is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?

Look for a psychiatrist who has experience with diagnosing and treating people with ADHD.

The doctor may:

  • Ask you to get a physical exam to make sure there aren’t other medical problems causing your symptoms
  • Take some blood from you and run tests on it
  • Recommend psychological testing
  • Ask you questions about your health history

While experts don’t agree on an age that you can first diagnose ADHD, they do agree that people don’t suddenly develop it as an adult. That’s why when a doctor sees you they will ask about your behavior and any symptoms that you may have had as a child. They may also:

  • Look at school report cards. They’ll look for comments about behavior problems, poor focus, lack of effort, or underachievement compared to your potential.
  • Talk with your parents to see if you had any symptoms during childhood.

People who have ADHD may have had trouble getting along with others when they were kids or had a hard time in school. Teachers may have had to work with you. For example, maybe you had to sit at the front of the class.

They’ll also ask if anyone else in your family has ADHD. This can be helpful information because it does seem like ADHD runs in families.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . .

Problems at School

Adults With ADHD may have:

  • A history of not doing well in school and underachieving
  • Gotten in a lot of trouble
  • Had to repeat a grade
  • Dropped out of school

Problems at Work

Adults With ADHD are more likely to:

  • Change jobs a lot and perform poorly
  • Be less happy with their jobs and have fewer successes at work

Problems in Life

Adults with ADHD are more likely to:

  • Get more speeding tickets, have their license suspended, or be involved in more crashes
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Use alcohol or drugs more often
  • Have less money
  • Say they have psychological trouble like being depressed or have anxiety

Relationship Problems

Adults with ADHD are more likely to:

  • Have more marital problems
  • Get separated and divorced more often
  • Have multiple marriages

How Is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?

Look for a psychiatrist who has experience with diagnosing and treating people with ADHD.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults PART TWO

CONTINUED. . . .

Challenges People With Adult ADHD Face

If you have ADHD, you may have trouble with:

  • Anxiety

  • Chronic boredom

  • Chronic lateness and forgetfulness

  • Depression

  • Trouble concentrating when reading

  • Trouble controlling anger

  • Problems at work

  • Impulsiveness

  • Low tolerance for frustration

  • Low self-esteem

  • Mood swings

  • Poor organization skills

  • Procrastination

  • Relationship problems

  • Substance abuse or addiction

  • Low motivation

These may affect you a lot, or they may not bother you much. They can be problems all of the time or just depend on the situation.

No two people with ADHD are exactly alike. If you have ADHD, you may be able to concentrate if you’re interested in or excited about what you’re doing. But some people with ADHD have trouble focusing under any circumstances. Some people look for stimulation, but others avoid it. Plus, some people with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial. Others can be very social and go from one relationship to the next.

Problems at School

Adults With ADHD may have:

  • A history of not doing well in school and underachieving
  • Gotten in a lot of trouble
  • Had to repeat a grade
  • Dropped out of school
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults PART ONE

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What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Many people have heard of ADHD. It may make you think of kids who have trouble paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD, too. About 4% to 5% of U.S. adults have it. But few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.

Who gets adult ADHD? Every adult who has ADHD had it as a child. Some may have been diagnosed and known it. But some may have not been diagnosed when they were young and only find out later in life.

While many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. Adult ADHD seems to affect men and women equally.

Adult ADHD Symptoms

If you have adult ADHD, you may find it hard to:

  • Follow directions
  • Remember information
  • Concentrate
  • Organize tasks
  • Finish work on time

This can cause trouble in many parts of life -- at home, at work, or at school. Getting treatment and learning ways to manage ADHD can help. Most people learn to adapt. And adults with ADHD can develop their personal strengths and find success.

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Signs of an Eating Disorder - PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . .

Signs of Binge Eating Disorder

Rather than simply eating too much all the time, people with binge eating disorder have frequent episodes where they binge on large quantities of food. Like people with bulimia, they often feel out of control during these episodes and later feel guilt and shame about it. The behavior becomes a vicious cycle, because the more distressed they feel about bingeing, the more they seem to do it. Because people with binge eating disorder do not purge, fast, or exercise after they binge, they are usually overweight or obese.

Unlike other eating disorders, binge eating disorder is almost as common in men as it is in women. According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, the average age at onset for binge eating disorder is 25, and it is more common in people under age 60.

Common signs of binge eating disorder include:

  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers

  • Hoarding food, or hiding large quantities of food in strange places

  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body

  • Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others

  • Constantly dieting, but rarely losing weight

Because binge eating leads to obesity, it can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Behavioral weight reduction programs can be helpful both with weight loss and with controlling the urge to binge eat. The stimulant drug Vyvanse is FDA-approved for the treatment of binge eating disorder. Also, because depression often goes hand in hand with binge eating disorder, antidepressants and psychotherapy may also help.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder is the first step toward getting help for it. Eating disorders are treatable, and with the right treatment and support, most people with an eating disorder can learn healthy eating habits and get their lives back on track.

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Signs of an Eating Disorder - PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . 

Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

People with bulimia nervosa have episodes of eating large amounts of food (called bingeing) followed by purging (vomiting or using laxatives), fasting, or exercising excessively to compensate for the overeating.

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia are often a normal weight. But they have the same intense fear of gaining weight and distorted body image. They see themselves as “fat” and desperately want to lose weight. Because they often feel ashamed and disgusted with themselves, people with bulimia become very good at hiding the bulimic behaviors.

The following are common signs of bulimia:

  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers

  • Evidence of purging, including trips to the bathroom after meals, sounds or smells of vomiting, or packages of laxatives or diuretics

  • Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others, or eating very small portions

  • Exercising excessively

  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body

  • Complaining about being “fat”

  • Using gum, mouthwash, or mints excessively

  • Constantly dieting

  • Scarred knuckles from repeatedly inducing vomiting

If left untreated, bulimia can result in long-term health problems such as abnormal heart rhythms, bleeding from the esophagus due to excessive reflux of stomach acid, dental problems, and kidney problems. However, bulimia can be treated successfully through cognitive-behavioral therapy, certain anticonvulsant medicines, antidepressants, or combinations of these therapies. It’s important to seek help if you think someone you care about has bulimia.

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Signs of an Eating Disorder - PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . .

Here’s a more detailed look at the symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.

Signs of Anorexia Nervosa

People with anorexia nervosa have an extreme fear of gaining weight. They often diet and exercise relentlessly, sometimes to the point of starvation. About one-third to one-half of anorexics also binge and purge by vomiting or misusing laxatives. People with anorexia have a distorted body image, thinking they are overweight when in fact they are underweight. They may count calories obsessively and only allow themselves tiny portions of certain specific foods. When confronted, someone with anorexia will often deny that there’s a problem.

The signs of anorexia can be subtle at first, because it develops gradually. It may begin as an interest in dieting before an event like a school dance or a beach vacation. But as the disorder takes hold, preoccupation with weight intensifies. It creates a vicious cycle: The more weight the person loses, the more that person worries and obsesses about weight.

The following symptoms and behaviors are common in people with anorexia:

  • Dramatic weight loss

  • Wearing loose, bulky clothes to hide weight loss

  • Preoccupation with food, dieting, counting calories, etc.

  • Refusal to eat certain foods, such as carbs or fats

  • Avoiding mealtimes or eating in front of others

  • Preparing elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat them

  • Exercising excessively

  • Making comments about being “fat”

  • Stopping menstruating

  • Complaining about constipation or stomach pain

  • Denying that extreme thinness is a problem

Because people with anorexia are so good at hiding it, the disease may become severe before anyone around them notices anything wrong. If you think someone you care about has anorexia, it’s important to have them evaluated by a doctor right away. If left untreated, anorexia can lead to serious complications such as malnutrition and organ failure. However, with treatment, most people with anorexia will gain back the weight they lost, and the physical problems they developed as a result of the anorexia will get better.

 

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Signs of an Eating Disorder - PART ONE

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Eating disorders are a group of conditions marked by an unhealthy relationship with food. There are three main types of eating disorders:

Anorexia nervosa. This is characterized by weight loss often due to excessive dieting and exercise, sometimes to the point of starvation. People with anorexia feel they can never be thin enough and continue to see themselves as “fat” despite extreme weight loss.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). This condition is characterized by eating very little and/or avoiding certain foods. It usually begins in childhood. People with ARFID may avoid certain foods because of their texture or odor.

Bulimia nervosa. The condition is marked by cycles of extreme overeating, known as bingeing, followed by purging or other behaviors to compensate for the overeating. It is also associated with feelings of loss of control about eating.

Binge eating disorder . This is characterized by regular episodes of extreme overeating and feelings of loss of control about eating.

 

Eating disorders tend to develop during the teenage and young adult years, and they are much more common in girls and women. No one knows the precise cause of eating disorders, but they seem to coexist with psychological and medical issues such as low self-esteem, depressionanxiety, trouble coping with emotions, and substance abuse.

For some people, a preoccupation with food becomes a way to gain control over one aspect of their lives. Although it may start out as simply eating a bit more or less than usual, the behavior can spiral out of control and take over the person’s life. Eating disorders are a serious medical problem that can have long-term health consequences if left untreated.

It’s common for people with eating disorders to hide their unhealthy behaviors, so it can be difficult to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, especially early on.

Here’s a more detailed look at the symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.

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How Does Stress Affect Binge Eating? PART TWO

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How to Avoid Bingeing When Stressed

Talk to your doctor if you think you have a problem with overeating. Treatments for binge eating disorder can help you find out what's driving you to overdo it with food. You'll also learn how to change your habits.

It can help to keep a food diary. Write down when you binge eat and how you feel while you eat. Once you know what triggers you to binge, you can try these healthier ways to handle stress:

  • ExerciseGo for a good walk outside or take an aerobics class. Remember that stress hormone called cortisol? Exercise causes cortisol levels to drop so you don't feel the giant urge to eat. Staying active also keeps your mind off the fridge and pantry. Plus, you'll start to feel better about your body.

  • Eat healthy "comfort foods." When you feel an urge to eat, turn to foods that can make you feel good without adding fat and calories. For example, choose a baked sweet potato, whole grain pasta with tomato sauce, or beans and brown rice.

  • Get support. When you feel like reaching for the cookie jar, call a friend or relative instead. They can help you when times get tough.

Remember, you don't have to deal with binge eating disorder and stress alone. Find support from specialists like these:

  • A therapist or counselor can help you deal with your emotions in ways other than with food.

  • A nutritionist can help you design a diet that fills you up and makes you feel better about yourself, so you feel less of an urge to eat.

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How Does Stress Affect Binge Eating? PART ONE

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Stress can make your heart pound, your belly ache, and your palms sweat. This kind of pressure can also make it hard for you to control unhealthy food habits like binge eating.

You can learn how to manage stress without turning to food, though. First you need to know about the link between stress and bingeing.

Stress, Binge, Stress

Stress can cause both binge eating disorder and the desire to overeat. It's common for someone with the disorder to use food to deal with tension and other emotions they want to turn off -- including anger, sadness, and boredom.

It can lead to a cycle of bingeing that goes like this:

  • When you're stressed, you eat a lot.
  • After you overeat, you feel bad or worried about weight gain, which makes you more stressed.
 

Stressful things that might cause you to overeat include:

  • A major life change, such as a move
  • Being bullied
  • Losing a loved one
  • Money issues
  • Problems in your family
  • Trouble at work

About 1 in 4 people who binge eat have another mental health condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Stress Makes You Eat

Why does a bad day at the office or an ugly breakup make you want to dive headfirst into a box of cookies or a bag of candy? It's because during tough times, your body makes more of a hormone called cortisol, which increases hunger. If you have binge eating disorder, you already have higher levels of this hormone in your body than people without the disorder. That spurs the desire to eat.

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