Eating Disorders Awareness

March 9, 2019

What Is An Eating Disorder?

 

Eating Disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.

 

Eating disturbances may include inadequate or excessive food intake which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males.

 

Eating disturbances may include inadequate or excessive food intake which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males.


Eating disorders can develop during any stage in life but typically appear during the teen years or young adulthood. Classified as a medical illness, appropriate treatment can be highly effectual for many of the specific types of eating disorders.

 

Although these conditions are treatable, the symptoms and consequences can be detrimental and deadly if not addressed. Eating disorders commonly coexist with other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or depression.
 

What Causes Eating Disorders?

 

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. However, many doctors believe that a combination of genetic, physical, social, and psychological factors may contribute to the development of an eating disorder.

 

For instance, research suggests that serotonin may influence eating behaviours. Serotonin is a naturally-occurring brain chemical that regulates mood, learning, and sleep, as well as other functions.

 

Societal pressure can also contribute to eating disorders. Success and personal worth are often equated with physical beauty and a slim physique, especially in Western culture. The desire to succeed or feel accepted may fuel behaviours associated with eating disorders.

 

Who Is At Risk Of Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life (40 years and older).

 

Remember: People with eating disorders may appear healthy, yet be extremely ill.

The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioural, psychological, and social factors can raise a person’s risk. 

 

What Are The Different Types Of Eating Disorders?

 

Common types of eating disorders are Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge eating, and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

 

 

Anorexia. People with anorexia eat very little on purpose. This leads to a very low body weight. Have an intense fear of weight gain. They fear looking fat. Have a distorted body image. They see themselves as fat even when they are very thin.

 

People with anorexia are very strict about what and how much they will eat. They may think about food or calories almost all the time.

 

To lose weight, some people with anorexia fast or exercise too much. Others may use laxatives, diuretics (water pills), or enemas.
 

 

Bulimia- People with bulimia overeat and feel out of control to stop. This is called Binge eating. Do things to make up make up for overeating. They may make themselves throw up on purpose after they overeat. This is called purging. To prevent weight gain they may use laxatives, diuretics, weight loss pills, fast, or exercise a lot. Judge themselves based on body shape and weight.

 

People with bulimia eat much more (during a set period of time) than most people would. If a person regularly binges and purges, it may be a sign of bulimia. Unlike people with anorexia who are very low weight, people with bulimia may be thin, average weight, or overweight. People with bulimia often hide their eating and purging from others.
 

 

People with binge eating disorder: Overeat and feel out of control to stop. This is called binge eating. 
- Eat large amounts even when they are not hungry may feel upset or guilty after binge eating often gain weight, and may become very overweight

- Many people with binge eating disorder eat faster than normal. They may eat alone so others goalpost see how much they are eating. 
- Unlike people with bulimia, those with binge eating disorder do not make themselves throw up, use laxatives, or exercise a lot to make up for binge eating. 
- If a person binge eats at least once a week for 3 months, it may be a sign of binge eating disorder.

 

 

(ARFID) People with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) are not interested in food or avoid foods lose weight, or gain expected amount of weightage not afraid of gaining weight have a poor body image.

 

People with ARFID eat because they are turned off by the smell, taste, texture, or colour of food. They may be afraid that they will choke or vomit. They have anorexia, bulimia, or another medical problem that would explain their eating behaviours.

 

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health and Emotions?

Eating disorders can cause serious problems throughout the body.

 

Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by under nutrition and low body weight, such as:

  • Low blood pressures low or irregular

  • Heartbeats feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint constipation and 

  • Bloating irregular periods weak bones delayed puberty and slow growth

 

People with anorexia may find it hard to focus and have trouble remembering things. Mood changes and emotional problems include:

  • Feeling alone, sad, or depressed anxiety and fears about gaining weight thoughts of hurting themselves

 

Bulimia can lead to health problems caused by vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics, such as:

  • Low blood pressure irregular heartbeats feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint blood in vomit or stool (poop)tooth erosion and cavities swollen cheeks (salivary glands)

 

People with bulimia may have these emotional problems: low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression alcohol or drug problems thoughts of hurting themselves
 

Binge eating can lead to weight-related health problems, such as:

 

  • Diabetes high blood pressure high cholesterol and triglycerides fatty liver sleep apneaPeople with binge eating disorder may: -have low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression feel alone, out of control, angry, or helpless have trouble coping with strong emotions or stressful events

ARFID may lead to health problems that stem from poor nutrition, similar to anorexia. People with ARFID may not get enough vitamins, minerals, and protein need tube feeding and nutrition supplements grow poorly.


People with ARFID are more likely to have:- anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit disorder (ADHD)problems at home and school because of eating behaviour. 

 

What Causes Eating Disorders?

There no single cause for eating disorders. Genes, environment, and stressful events all play a role. Some things can increase a person chance of having an eating disorder, such as:

poor body image too much focus on weight or looks dieting at a young age playing sports that focus on weight (gymnastics, ballet, ice skating, and wrestling)having a family member with an eating disorder mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or OCD


How Are Eating Disorders Diagnosed?
Health care providers and mental health professionals diagnose eating disorders based on history, symptoms, thought patterns, eating behaviours, and an exam.
The doctor will check weight and height and compare these to previous measurements on growth charts. The doctor may order tests to see if there is another reason for the eating problems and to check for problems caused by the eating disorder.

 

How Are Eating Disorders Treated?

 


-Eating disorders are best treated by a team that includes a doctor, dietitian, and therapist. Treatment includes nutrition counselling, medical care, and talk therapy (individual, group, and family therapy). The doctor might prescribe medicine to treat binge eating, anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns.

 

The details of the treatment depend on the type of eating disorder and how severe it is. Some people are hospitalized because of extreme weight loss and medical complications. 

 

What if I Have an Eating Disorder?

If you think you may have an eating disorder:

 

1. Tell someone. Tell a parent, teacher, counsellor, or an adult you trust. Let them know what you’re going through. Ask them to help.

 

2. Get help early. When an eating disorder is caught early, a person has a better chance of recovery. Make an appointment with your doctor or an eating disorders specialist.

 

3. Go to all appointments. Treatment takes time and effort. Work hard to learn about yourself and your emotions. Ask questions any time you have them.

 

4. Be patient with yourself. There’s so much to learn, and change happens a little at a time. Take care of yourself and be with people who support you.

 

About Author: 

Anita Yadav is a very highly motivated and passionate writer. She has keen interest in reading and creating something new and gaining knowledge. She loves to write something unique. 

 

SOURCES :
www.eatingdisorder.com 
www.healthline.com
www.nimh.nih.com 

 

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