Eating disorders treatment is no joke, it should be taken very serious. People who have eating disorders should seek for professional help.
You might feel embarrased, but they are millions of people who suffer from these disorders. And eating disorders can also expose you to some serious health conditions. Which can also be both physically and emotionally destructive.
Whenever you begin to notice some disordered eating habits affecting your life, happiness and your ability to concentrate, it is very important you talk to someone about what you’re going through. And also eating disorder treatment.
Eating disorder is any range of psychological disorders that is characterized by an abnormal or disturbed eating habit, such as anorexia nervosa
Most people hold a belief that eating disorders are lifestyle choices. But eating disorders are actually very serious, and a fatal illness. Which causes severe problems to a person’s eating habits.
When you have an obsession with food, your body weight, and shape, it may also be a signal of an eating disorder. Some of the common eating disorders include; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and also binge eating disorder.
Causes Of Eating Disorder
Eating Disorders are a bunch of complex disorders. Which are also influenced by a lot of factors. Although, the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But it is generally believed that it is a mix of biological, psychological, and/or environmental abnormalities. Which also add to the development of these illnesses.
Examples of biological factors which cause eating disorders include:
- An irregular hormone functions
- Hereditary/ Genetics
- Nutritional deficiencies
Examples of environmental factors that can add to the occurrence of eating disorders are:
- A dysfunctional family dynamic
- Some family and childhood traumas
- Life changes or a stressful transition
- Professions or careers that promote being thin and weight loss, such as modelling and ballet.
- Some sports where an emphasis is placed on maintaining a lean body for an enhanced performance. Examples of such sports include gymnastics, rowing, diving, ballet, long distance running and also wrestling.
- Peer pressure among friends and co-workers.
Examples of psychological factors that add to eating disorders include:
- Negative body image
- Poor self-esteem
Symptoms Of Eating Disorders
Some of the signs and symptoms which can be found in a person suffering from an eating disorder include:
- An obsession with the calories and fat contents of food.
- Chronic dieting despite being seriously underweight.
- Constant fluctuations in weight.
- May begin to avoid social functions, friends, and also family.
- Hiding food, wanting to eat alone or even cutting food into tiny pieces.
- A fixation with food, recipes, or cooking.
- Switching between periods of fasting and overeating.
- Evidence of vomiting or an excessive use of laxative. Which can also result in frequent trips to the bathroom during a meal or shortly after meals
- An excessive or compulsive exercise patterns. Such as exercising even when injured, or in a bad weather.
- Making lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods
- Making changes in food preferences
- Avoiding all social functions which involve food
- Cooking meals for others but not consuming the meals themselves
- A change in clothing style, such as wearing baggy clothes
- Deceptive behaviour with food. Which may also include secretly throwing food out, eating in secret or lying about the amount or type of food consumed.
- Continual denial of hunger
- Rapid or sudden weight loss
- Having an increased sensitivity to cold. Such as feeling cold most of the time, even when the environment is warm.
- A loss or disturbance of menstrual periods for females.
- Fainting, Dizziness, Fatigue.
- An increased preoccupation with body shape, weight and also appearance
- An intense fear of gaining weight.
- Having extreme body dissatisfaction or having a negative body image.
- Sensitivity to comments and criticism about body shape or weight, eating or exercise habits
- Anxiety, Irritability, Low self-esteem.
- Feelings of being ‘out of control’ with life or unable to control behaviours around food.
Types Of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders include extreme habits and attitude surrounding weight and food issues.
Eating disorders are very serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening results for the person.
People with anorexia nervosa sometimes see themselves as been overweight. While there may be dangerously underweight.
These persons with anorexia nervosa weigh themselves repeatedly. And also severely restrict the amount of food eaten.
Anorexia nervosa has been known to have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. With many of the sufferers dying from some problems. Others may die of suicide.
Some symptoms of anorexia nervosa include;
- Extreme restriction in eating.
- Emaciation, Fear of gaining weight, Distorted body image.
- Thinning of the bones, Dry and yellow skin
- Mild anemia and muscle wasting
- Fatigue, Brittle nails and hair
- Constipation, Brain damage, Low blood pressure.
- Damage to the function and structure of the heart.
- Growth of fine hair all over the body.
- Multiple organ failures, Lethargy, Infertility.
People with bulimia nervosa get frequent episodes of eating large amounts of food. Which is followed by behaviours to prevent weight gain such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, fasting, and excessive exercise.
But unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa often keep a healthy or relatively normal weight.
Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
- sore throat
- inflamed salivary glands in the neck and jaw
- An increase in the sensitivity of the teeth, and a decay of the teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid.
- Severe dehydration
- Electrolyte imbalance which can lead to heart attack.
- Acid reflux disorder
- Intestinal distress and irritation from excess use of laxative.
Binge Eating Disorder
This is one of the most common eating disorders. It is also known as a compulsive overeating. People with binge eating disorders lose control over eating. And unlike in bulimia nervosa, binge eating is not followed by excessive exercise, use of laxatives and vomiting. This is also one of the major reasons why people with a binge eating disorder are often overweight or obese.
Symptoms of binge eating disorders include:
- Eating an unusually large amount of food in a specific amount of time
- When you eat really fast during each binge episode
- Eating even when you are full or not hungry
- Eating alone or sometimes in secret so as to avoid shame from eating so much.
Other types of eating disorders also include:
- Night eating syndrome
- Prader – Willi Syndrome
- Nocturnal Sleep –Related Eating Disorder.
Eating Disorders Treatment
Eating disorders treatment should be taken very seriously. The treatment varies, based on the severity of the eating disorder.
Knowing and addressing the eating disorder is a crucial step to start eating disorders treatment.
The most effective eating disorders treatment is some form of psychological counselling and psychotherapy. And also medical and nutritional needs.
- Medical Care. This talks on the concern of any health issues which may be a contributing factor in the eating disorder habits. This is also a good contributing force in eating disorders treatment.
- Nutrition: This helps in addressing weight restoration, stabilization and guidance, eating normally and also eating healthy foods.
- Psychotherapy: This is one of the most effective eating disorders treatment. There are different forms of psychotherapy. Which gives the person the chance to address and heal from any traumatic experiences. And also learn coping mechanisms which are healthy.
Therapy also teaches the person healthy methods of expressing emotions, communicating effectively and also keeping a healthy relationship.
Some of these types of therapies for eating disorders treatment also include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Art therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Dance movement therapy
- Equine therapy
- Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP)
- Family therapy
- Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
- The Maudsley method
- Medications: Some drugs like antidepressants, antipsychotics may also be given. Which helps to resolve anxiety symptoms and also stabilize mood that sometimes occur with an eating disorder.