Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly. The severity of warning signs may be difficult to notice, since the disease is notorious for secrecy and shame. Symptoms vary with each person and are frequently overlooked. If the signs are missed, the individual may already be at a critical physical state. Eating disordered individuals usually try to hide their behaviors and practice in isolation, but there are warning signs to look out for. If the disease is treated in its early stages of development, the chances of recovering increase dramatically. Understand that eating disorders are a psychiatric problem with physical symptoms. They need to be handled with discretion. The more you know about the disease the better equipped you will be to help someone who is suffering.
Eating disorders can cause extreme thinness. Women struggling with the disease can be occupied by the desire to lose weight, even if they are emaciated. Many individuals express feeling “fat” and preoccupy themselves with an unrealistic fear of gaining weight. Keep in mind that an eating disorder is a disease of the mind. As the body deteriorates, the mind follows. Restricting food deprives the brain of the nutrients it needs to function at optimum capacity. Body image distortions make it more difficult for individuals to seek help. Such distortions make it difficult for the individual to see themselves accurately. Their realistic line is skewed and the behaviors are often indicative of one’s desire to attain the unattainable. It is typically difficult for someone struggling with an eating disorder to accurately see themselves through a realistic lens.
Starvation effects almost all of the human organs. The body will do whatever it can to preserve homeostasis. Engaging in an eating disorder can lead to a myriad of physical complications. Physical signs and symptoms include but are not limited to abnormally low heart rate, gastrointestinal complications, fatigue, dryness of skin, anemia, hypo tension and lack of menstrual periods. Eating disorders are deadly. Causes of death include: liver failure, pancreatitis, gastric rupture, lung collapse, stroke, heart attack, internal bleeding, depression and suicide. Blood sugar levels are commonly disrupted when one deprives themselves of food and or, participate in self induced vomiting.
Although it may take years of extensive therapy and treatment, healing is possible. It can be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel when someone’s world slowly unravels. An eating disorder can rob someone of their ability to live life, especially if they are unable to see how entrenched they are in the disease. The sicker the individual is, the greater the gap is between their distortions and reality. Certain characteristics may be more overt than others, but eating disorders, such as Anorexia, Bulimia and binge eating are often difficult to pin point. Anorexia frequently causes significant weight loss, but sometimes the behaviors have been taking place long before the warning signs become prominent.