Eating disorders have become increasingly common among millions of teenagers and adults not only in America, but all around the world. While most eating disorders may start out as an obsession with food and body weight/image, it’s important to be aware that there is definitely a lot more involved than just food. An eating disorder is usually a serious illness that requires long-term treatment and often involves other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression and, in some cases, drug abuse. Learning about the different types of eating disorders that exist and how to manage and prevent them is very important to leading a healthy lifestyle.
One of the most common types of eating disorders that many people tend to suffer from is anorexia nervosa. This particular type of eating disorder makes sufferers so afraid of putting on any extra weight that they resort to drastically cutting back on the amount of food they eat, which ultimately makes them run the risk of becoming severely emaciated.
Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that not only affects one’s body, but the mind as well. One of the most dangerous aspects about anorexia is the fact that it can start off as something simple as a diet to shed a few extra pounds and quickly develop into a dangerous pattern of not eating at all as the individual becomes more and more obsessed about loosing weight. As a result, those who suffer from anorexia become consumed with constant thoughts of dieting, food and weight loss.
Bulimia is another common eating disorder that plagues many people who are consumed with avoiding weight gain. Bulimia is considered to be a psychological condition which is often associated with anxiety, self-esteem issues, insecurity and depression as opposed to just food. Bulimics typically engage in binge eating and purging, which may include forcefully making themselves vomit, exercising excessively or resorting to the usage of laxatives for the purpose of maintain a certain weight.
Similar to anorexia, there are no known causes of bulimia either, but it is safe to assume that the eating disorder can result from not being satisfied with one’s body shape. Some people also believe that bulimia can be a hereditary condition. Eating in secret, binge eating, vomiting after most meals and significant fluctuations in weight can all be indications that an individual has bulimia.
When someone uses food to numb unpleasant feelings or to feel good. The individual becomes addicted to the feelings induced by the consumption of food. Over-eaters demonstrate uncontrollable binge eating consuming large quantities of food. They do not obsess about weight control or body image. Most compulsive over-eaters present with moderate to severe obesity. Binge eating episodes consist of carbohydrates and junk food with most binges done in scheduled secrecy.
Eating disorders not only affect women but men as well. It’s estimated that approximately ten percent of people who suffer from an eating disorders are males. However most of the psychological factors that lead to an eating disorder, such as low self esteem and anxiety are the same for both men and women.
Exercise is typically considered a healthy habit. However in certain individuals compulsive exercising can be both psychosocially and psychologically impairing. Exercise addiction is when exercise completely takes over a person’s life. Other obligations such as families, careers, and social activities become less and less important and commitments fall by the wayside. Those addicted to exercise have an overly rigid fitness schedule and have a strong desire to control their body weight or shape, and feel guilty when exercise is not performed.
Regardless of the specific type of eating disorder one may suffer from, the importance of seeking treatment cannot be stressed enough. The plain truth is that eating disorders can often wind up being fatal, which is why taking some action before it’s too late can literally save a life.
Because eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are also emotional disorders in addition to physical ones, treatment options can include consulting with doctors, counselors and nutritionists. Although there are no specific medications used to treat an eating disorder, antidepressants may often be prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as to prevent eating disorders from frequently recurring.