Eating Disorders

Mental Health Awareness Month| Eating Disorders

Overview

There is a societal apprehended delusion that eating disorders are lifestyle individual choices. Often, eating disorders end up being more serious when they are not attended to where they result in fatalities and the development of severe health issues. The common severe disturbances are related to emotions, thoughts, and eating behaviors. The common eating disorders include;

1. Bulimia Nervosa

With bulimia nervosa, you tend to have frequent episodes of eating large portions of foods where you completely lack control of what you eat or when you eat. The eating behaviors are more likely to be followed by activities to compensate for the eating habits of overeating such as the use of laxatives, or vomiting. Women and men suffering from Bulimia nervosa live in constant fears of their body shapes and sizes. You can be normal weight, overweight or even underweight

2. Anorexia Nervosa

This is where you may see yourself as overweight. When you have anorexia, you end up weighing yourself more often and putting restrictions on yourself of the foods and amount of foods that you eat, enhance the excessive exercise, use of laxatives to lose weight or force yourself to vomit more often. With Anorexia, most people die of suicide or starvation

3. Binge-eating Disorder

This is where you completely lose control over your eating. Unlike in Bulimia, in Binge-eating, episodes are not accompanied by compensatory behaviors, and therefore most people suffering from binge eating disorder end up being obese, increased risk of health complications due to unhealthy eating such as cardiovascular health conditions.

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders vary from one type to the other. However, like all mental illnesses, eating disorders have some common or related signs and symptoms. When suffering from eating disorders, you are likely to show the below signs;

  • Obsession with certain types of foods such as foods with high calories or fats
  • Consistent fluctuations in weight
  • Chronic dieting even after being dangerously underweight
  • Depressions stages or lethargy episodes
  • Regular switching from fasting periods to overeating periods
  • Avoiding social functions or becoming isolated or socially withdrawn
  • Development of ritualistic food patterns such as hiding food, or cutting tiny pieces while eating

What Causes Eating Disorders?

Like most mental disorders, eating disorders have more than one known underlying factors and we cannot establish a single cause.

  1. In one of the genetics studies, two twins on adoption studies showed evidence of eating disorders in both twins although having been oriented by different families. This concludes eating disorders may be hereditary.
  1. Personality traits. Some personalities are more likely to develop eating disorders than others. These personalities include impulsivity, neuroticism, and perfectionism.
  1. Perceived pressures to attain a certain body shape or size. These are more likely to be the effects of social media, peer influence, or the society description of the ‘perfect’ body.
  1. Brain structure is also established to play a vital role that may cause eating disorders. This includes the levels of brain messenger’s serotonin and dopamine might be factors.

Treatment of Eating disorders

Eating disorders are complex and at times severe. Therefore, professional treatment is fundamental in establishing healing and full recovery.

Treatment of eating disorders may include either one or more of the following which is administered by a nutritionist, a medical doctor, and therapist for complete care:

Nutrition. This may include the incorporation of individualized meal plans which will help in the stabilization of the condition. It highly focuses on guidance to normal eating

Therapy. Includes different types of psychotherapy such as group, family or individual; important in defining the underlying impacts behind eating disorders

Monitoring and medical care. The ultimate goal of treating eating disorders is addressing the health issues which results from eating disorders or behaviors

Medications. 

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