What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating condition where individuals starve themselves or severely restrict their food intake with the intent of losing weight. Those with anorexia have an extreme fear of being fat that leads to obsessive compulsive behaviors focused on weight loss. Individuals suffering from this eating disorder are on average 15% below their ideal weight and continue to think they are fat even after they become very thin. Weight loss is achieved in numerous ways such as the use of laxatives or diet pills, excessive exercise, restricting one’s self of food for long periods of time, and vomiting after meals. People with anorexia will usually avert foods with high calorie content and exercise regularly and even rigorously to lose weight. Anorexia often starts in young individuals around the onset of puberty and many individuals with this kind of eating disorder are described as over-achievers and/or perfectionists.
What are the symptoms
There are several symptoms for anorexia however, not all individuals will experience the same symptoms. The most common indications include a low body weight, which is inconsistent with body build, height, and age, along with:
- Fatigue and muscle tiredness
- Loss of hair on head
- Fine downy hairs on neck, back, and face
- Obsession with food
- Unusual eating habits such as cutting food into small pieces and picking at food
- Irregular menstruation
- Amenorrhea or loss of menstruation
- Mood swings
- Pale complexion
What are the dangers of Anorexia
- Low body temperature
- Shrunken bones
- Debility of the brain as a result of deficiency in nutrients
- Mineral loss
- Irregular heartbeat
- Development of osteoporosis
- Damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart
- Impede normal body growth
- Mental health conditions such as depression and/or anxiety
How is Anorexia treated?
Treatment of this disorder varies depending on the patient’s condition. The initial cure for anorexia is generally focused on weight gain, particularly for those who have serious conditions that need hospitalization.
Various types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Family Systems Therapy are known to be an effective type of treatment and can result in the regaining of weight, improved psychological self-esteem, and normal social functioning.
What is Bulimia?
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by self-induced vomiting after consuming food. People with bulimia typically have a normal body weight, but see themselves to be fat and may feel self-disgust with intense guilt when they eat. Often times they will binge, or consume a large amount of food (often times high fat, high calorie foods), before forcing themselves to purge so that they do not gain weight.
Though both men and women develop bulimia, around 90% of reported cases are female. For most, bulimia starts in the teen years, just after puberty begins. Many individuals with this kind of eating disorder are over-achievers or perfectionists.
What are the symptoms?
Despite efforts of the person to hide the symptoms of this eating disorder, certain signs of bulimia are normally noticeable.
- Obsession or pre-occupied with weight, size, food or cooking
- Frequent trips to the bathroom during or following meals
- Bingeing and/or purging
- Bloodshot eyes, dark circles beneath eyes
- Secretive eating patterns
- Using laxatives, diet pills, enemas or ipecac syrup
What are the dangers of Bulimia?
Laxatives, vomiting, and diuretics can result to electrolyte imbalances, most usually in the form of very low potassium levels that may trigger a wide variety of indications ranging from cloudy thinking and lethargy to irregular heartbeat, kidney failure, and even death. Other risks include:
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the feet and hands
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Chronic sore throat
- Swollen salivary glands and cheeks
- Mouth sores and tooth decay
- Weakness and dizziness
- Acid reflux or ulcers
- Loss of menstrual periods
- Ruptured esophagus or stomach
- Lingering constipation due to laxative abuse
- Mood swings, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia
How is bulimia treated?
Since low self-esteem and poor body image are the main effects of this eating disorder, therapy is an essential part of recovery. It is common to feel secluded and shamed, and the therapists can assist with these emotions. The best treatment for this condition is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which targets the unhealthy eating habits and behaviors of a person with bulimia as well as the negative and unrealistic thoughts that fuel them.
OVEREATING/BINGE EATING DISORDER
What is binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder is a pattern of eating characterized by regular episodes of binges or, consuming an unusually large amount of food at one time, often consciously or subconsciously to please and manage a range of emotions. During such binges, a person rapidly consumes excessive amounts of food until they feel physically uncomfortable and/or nauseated. Most people who have binge eating disorder try to hide this behavior from others, and often feel ashamed about being overweight or depressed about their overeating. Although people who do not have any eating disorder may occasionally experience episodes of overeating, frequent binge eating is often a symptom of an eating disorder.
Binge eating is the most common eating disorder, and it affects around 25 million people. This condition is slightly more common to occur in women than in men, and most individuals with binge eating disorder are considered to be obese. However, people with normal body weights can also be affected.
What are the symptoms?
- Chronic dieting, constantly changing diets
- Self-depreciating statements after eating
- Eating a large amount of food even when not hungry
- Frequent incidents of uncontrollable binge eating
- Consuming food faster than the average person
- Hiding food, secretive eating, isolating, fear or eating around others
- Feeling extremely upset or distressed during or after bingeing
- Blames weight for personal, professional or social failure
What are the dangers of binge eating?
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Joint and muscle pain
How is binge eating treated?
Professional support as well as therapy from health experts specializing in the management and treatment of these eating disorders, which include nutritionists, therapists, and psychiatrists, is reported to be the most successful way to handle binge eating disorder. Treatment programs utilizing various Cognitive Behavioral Approaches to address the underlying matters, such as depression, stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions, have proven to be very helpful in developing healthy coping mechanisms that deter destructive eating patterns.