What You Need To know About Eating Disorders

You’ve probably heard all about eating disorders and the horrific effects they can have on the people who suffer from them. There are a few things you should probably know about eating disorders though; if you or someone you love could be suffering from one. Remember that eating disorders are never about attention. They are mental diseases that can completely over take someone’s life. It doesn’t matter if they are the smartest person you’ve ever met, or the most blessed, everyone is at just as much of a risk of falling victim to an eating disorder. Here is some information concerning the types of eating disorders, their symptoms and their effects.

1. Anorexia Nervosa

This is a serious eating disorder that can lead to health complications or even cause death.

The following are the symptoms of anorexia:

• A very intense fear of gaining weight despite the fact that you are underweight.

• A distorted perception on one’s weight

• A denial of how underweight one may be – usually seeing themselves as several pounds heavier than they actually are 

• Infrequent menstrual flow whereby it may be a period of at least 3 months

Some of the side effects that are associated with anorexia include:

• Damage to the kidney

• Problems of digestion

• Heart failure

• Anemia (a lack of oxygen making its way around the body resulting in extreme fatigue)

• Losing ability to carry children

• Depression

• Death

2. Bulimia Nervosa

This is another dangerous eating disorder that can lead to death. Those people suffering from it, have abnormal eating behavior (binge eating and then vomiting).  Bulimia is not as obvious as anorexia can be in that individuals may not lose as drastic an amount of weight as quickly.

Individuals who have this disorder have the following signs:

• Binge eating, that is eating a lot more than average in one sitting

• A need to control many aspects of their life 

• Have no control while eating

Some of the side effects associated with bulimia include:

• Heart problems such as heart failure

• Straining of the muscles due to extreme exercises

• Digestion problems

• Kidney failure which is caused by dehydration

• Menstrual cycle problems

• Gum disease and tooth decay

• Damage in the esophagus among other complications

3. Binge – Eating Disorder/ Compulsive Overeating

This is becoming more commonly accepted as an eating disorder. Similar to bulimia, individuals with this disorder have an abnormal eating habit of consuming a large quantity of food within a short period of time. The difference lies in the fact that they do not try to undo this.  The symptoms of this disorder include:
• Eating very fast

• Consuming food until they experience discomfort

• They normally eat alone so that no one can know how much food they consume

• They feel guilt after the binge and tend to feel disgusted at themselves – this disorder can lower one’s self-esteem greatly.

• They feel out of control while overeating

Heath complications caused by Binge eating:

• Type 2 diabetes

• Obesity

• Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

• Pain in the joints and muscles

• Heart problems 

• Feeling unworthy  (low self-esteem)

• Difficulties while sleeping

• Mental health issues such as depression

While sometimes people hide it so well you might not know until very far into the condition, if you spot these symptoms early, it is wise to seek treatment as soon as possible; this will lower the risk of health problems later on. The primary treatment of eating disorders is Psychotherapy. Cognitive Therapy is the effective type of therapy which benefits individuals with eating disorder.

There is also Dialectical Behavior Therapy which is another type of psychotherapy that is beneficial.

Typically eating disorders can be treated with such therapy but it is not wise to use medication. Though, there might be serious health issues like depression it is most wise to try and treat the eating disorder with priority; this may help alleviate depressive tendencies.

You should also remember that it is not just girls and women who can suffer from eating disorders; men are just as likely to. They health complications are just as serious for them too.

Sourced from: psyweb.com

Photo by: Thinkstock/ KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Posted on May 5, 2023