Everything about eating disorder and it’s treatments
Eating disorder are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders can be life-threatening if not treated properly.
Eating disorder symptoms include obsessive counting of calories or fat grams; continual dieting; severe weight loss; food hoarding, including hiding wrappers or garbage under clothes or in drawers; refusal to eat certain foods for a specific period of time (often determined by the individual); feeling out of control while eating and continuing to eat despite fullness due to a fear that stopping will cause weight gain.
Eating disorders treatments may involve counseling with a therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders, support groups such as Overeaters Anonymous, working with a nutritionist to develop healthy eating habits.
Types of eating disorders
There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders can lead to serious consequences such as depression, malnutrition and even death. Not only that but it also affects the family members and friends who watch a loved one struggle with this mental illness.
Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness that can affect anyone. People with anorexia suffer from low self-esteem and poor body image, which leads to them constantly wanting to be thinner. They will often diet excessively in order to lose weight but this may lead to binging on food followed by purging (vomiting) or using laxatives to avoid gaining weight.
People suffering from anorexia may also cut themselves as a way of coping with the overwhelming anxiety and guilt they feel about their body image and obsession with food, or because it helps them gain control over parts of life that seem out of control. Losing too much weight can cause bone deterioration and organ failure, and in some cases death.
People with anorexia may also over-exercise as a way of controlling their weight but this can lead to muscle weakness and damage to the heart or even cardiac arrest. Anorexia is often accompanied by other mental problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorder (often alcohol), and personality disorders.
Some of the warning signs that a person may have anorexia nervosa include: constant obsession with being thin, weight loss in spite of medical problems or even when not dieting, wearing baggy clothes to hide one’s body shape, frequent comments about feeling fat despite obvious emaciation; hiding food for binging and then vomiting or using laxatives to avoid gaining weight; avoiding eating in public, increased interest in food preparation and cookbooks, lack of menstrual periods (in women), feeling too full after a small meal, watching others eat and obsessing about their own portion size.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by binge-eating; this involves rapid consumption of food in one sitting to the point where the individual feels out of control. The person then makes themselves vomit or takes laxatives, diuretics or enemas after binging to avoid gaining weight.
People with bulimia typically maintain a normal or slightly above average body weight. They may also exercise excessively and make themselves vomit, misuse laxatives, diuretics (water pills) and other drugs to control their weight. Some will fast for long periods of time as well.
Warning signs that someone has bulimia include: disappearing after meals and reappearing after a while, making excuses to leave after eating, hiding food and containers of vomit; wearing baggy clothes to hide their body shape, having calluses on the knuckles from inducing vomiting, frequent visits to the bathroom during or right after meals.
Not all individuals with bulimia will show these warning signs but it is important for loved ones to be vigilant for any changes in behavior.
Some of the symptoms that are associated with bulimia are: stomach pain, sore throat, swollen salivary glands or damaged teeth enamel from frequent vomiting; malnutrition due to lack of nutrients and electrolytes caused by purging (vomiting); irregular bowel movements if laxatives are abused, heartburn and indigestion if acid from the stomach comes up; weakness, dizziness or fainting due to low blood pressure caused by dehydration.
Bulimia can lead to serious health problems including: kidney failure, ruptured esophagus (due to frequent vomiting), stomach ulcers and tooth decay. People with bulimia often have low self-esteem and may also suffer from depression, anxiety disorders or substance abuse.
The best way to treat bulimia is through a combination of counseling therapy for the underlying mental health issues that lead someone to develop an eating disorder as well as nutrition education so they can learn how food should be properly enjoyed and not abused.
People with bulimia often recover in 12-18 months if they can stick to their treatment plan, but some may need more time. Recovery is possible though it takes a lot of support from family members, friends and professional care providers.
Binge-eating disorder sufferers uncontrollably eat excessive amounts of food then feel a lack of control during or after eating. Unlike bulimia, the individual does not go through an episode of purging to avoid weight gain and therefore may be overweight.
People with binge-eating disorder often have a poor body image and low self esteem and may consume over 5,000 calories per binge.
Binge-eating disorder is often accompanied by: depression, anxiety and substance abuse; chronic indigestion and heartburn; loss of sexual desire; obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels; insomnia; lack of concentration as sleep deprivation occurs with frequent binging episodes.
The best way to treat binge-eating disorder is through psychotherapy; this can help with controlling negative emotions and developing better coping skills. Nutritional education is also important for recovery, as it will teach the individual how to eat in moderation.
It’s crucial that friends and family members of individuals with binge-eating disorder support them on their recovery journey while avoiding negative comments, this may make the person feel ashamed of their condition.
As with bulimia, the symptoms of binge-eating disorder often improve in 12-18 months if they stick to their treatment plan; but it can take years for some people. Recovery is possible though and individuals should never give up on themselves. The key is to surround yourself with positive people and seek help from trained professionals.
People with purging disorder have frequent episodes of self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives, diuretics or enemas after eating in order to prevent weight gain. Unlike bulimia or binge-eating disorder, the individual will not show any signs of binging.
Individuals with purging disorder are often of average weight or underweight and have a poor body image, they may avoid socializing due to their condition making them feel ashamed of it. Purging disorder can lead to health problems including: anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea; heartburn or indigestion; tooth decay and bad breath due to stomach acid exposing the teeth enamel.
The best way for treating purging disorder is by interventions to stop the current cycle, this can be done with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders or through medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may also help individuals learn new ways to cope with negative feelings which may cause them to feel tempted to self-induce vomiting.
Other eating disorders
There are other types of eating disorders, such as those who experience binge eating but do not engage in purging behaviors and those with night eating syndrome where the person eats excessively late at night and wakes up feeling tired the next day due to sleep deprivation.
Eating disorders are serious and should never be taken lightly, they can lead to death if left undiagnosed and untreated. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above get help immediately by speaking with a doctor or therapist who specializes in eating disorders.
Don’t become another statistic, the life you save could be your own.
Conclusion: Eating disorders can be life-threatening, but there is hope. Our team of doctors are ready to help you get started with finding the right treatment for your eating disorder. If you or someone you know suffers from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder and need information on how they could start getting better contact us today!