Eating Disorders – What Are They?

Eating DisordersDon’t Let This Affect You

Eating disorders, they are a serious illness that not everyone can see until it’s too late. Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, whether that be anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, in the US alone. These illnesses claim that lives of thousands of people every year and almost 50% of those with any type of disorder meet the criteria for depression. The statistics are sickening to read about and unfortunately, the case is that they just keep getting worse. Many people are often influenced by the media and peer pressure to look as thin as they can, too the point where it can be fatal.

An eating disorder is claimed as an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. For a person to show that they have an eating disorder may display eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spiraled out of control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape may also signal an eating disorder. The common disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

What Are Some Causes For Eating Disorders?

It has been discovered that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. Researchers are looking more into the study of human genes and the various combinations that could possible lead someone to have this illness. Neuroimaging studies have also been performed to provide better understanding of these disorders and their treatments. Psychotherapy Interventions are also being closely studied.

What Are Types Of Eating Disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa

People who suffer with this illness often see themselves as overweight, even when they are severely underweight. The way they eat, the foods they consume and their weight all become obsessions and typically weight themselves repeatedly, portion food carefully, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Some might even involve themselves with binge-eating followed by extreme dieting, excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and/or misuse of laxative, diuretics or enemas.

Those who suffer from anorexia might display symptoms as such:

  • Extreme thinness
  • Relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image
  • Lack of menstruation
  • Extremely restricted eating

Bulimia Nervosa

The people deal with recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. Binge-eating is often followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors.

People who deal with bulimia usually maintain what is considered a healthy or normal weight, while some are slightly overweight. However, they do fear about gaining weight, want to desperately lose weight and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. The behaviors done by those who have bulimia are done secretly because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame.

Other symptoms might include:

  • Inflamed or sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Acid reflux
  • Intestinal distress
  • Severe dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Binge Eating Disorder

This is when a person loses all control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia though, binge-eating is not followed by purging, excessive exercise or fasting. People who are binge-eaters typically are overweight or obese and have a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. They also go through periods where they experience guilt, shame, and distress about their binge-eating.