During difficult times, we seek comfort from different things. While talking to your family works for you, some seek comfort in writing up their feelings. One of the things that often goes undiagnosed under the blanket of comfort is an eating disorder. Eating disorder is not limited to replacing food with one’s comfort. It is also an unhealthy obsession that impacts your health. They are not diets or lifestyle choice, but actual mental illness. Moreover, research shows that many people who are diagnosed with eating disorders often hide their condition to great extent. As we said, it is not their choice.
Most of the eating disorders concern themselves with body image. It is especially difficult when you spend time in the world of social media. It can cause overeating, starving, etc. Moreover, it deprives your body of essential nutrients. Overeating can cause digestive distress and heart disease. While not taking required calories can decrease your body’s immunity. Usually, eating disorders are common in teen and young adults. Associating your self worth with how you look can have fatal consequences.
Types of Eating Disorders
While there are many types of Eating disorders, we will be listing some of the common ones. Along with that, we will be sharing a few common symptoms. If you observe them, consult a medical professional.
In simple words, anorexia creates a fear of gaining bodyweight. This drives a person to a point where they dangerously lose weight. The people with anorexia are often persistent about their eating habits and body weight. It often includes going on repetitive diets, vomiting after eating and self-starvation. Use of laxatives and intense workout with below requirement eating is a common symptom of this disorder. This disorder creates unrealistic goals and attaches your self-worth with it.
Anorexia Nervosa can result in many health problems like anaemia, kidney problems and irreversible damage to your body. Symptoms include abnormal blood count, dry skin, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, etc. Other than genetic factors, anorexia can happen to people with OCD. Also, social conditioning affects patients to great extent.
It is a lesser-known, yet the common type of eating disorder. It defines excessive eating without having any control over it. “Binge eating”, a common term, is not Bulimia nervosa. This disorder creates a subconscious trigger that makes you eat a lot of food in one sitting. It does not take certain factors under its considerations. Later, like remorse, patients often indulge in vomiting or unhealthy weight loss methods. Insecurities towards one’s appearance can often trigger Bulimia nervosa. Between maintaining desired body shape and uncontrollable urge to eat, patients are often sad and unsatisfied.
Health problems include self-injury, severe tooth decay, menstrual irregularity, detachment due to low self-esteem. Unfortunately, females are more susceptible to this disorder. Also, people with addiction, mental illness and trauma survivors can have this disorder. While the cause of this disorder is still unknown, emotional and psychological issues are often powerful factors.
Binge Eating Disorder(BED)
We request you to read it carefully. It is not how you snack on some fries while watching a movie. Similar to Bulimia nervosa, it creates an uncontrollable urge to eat. People with BED eat a lot in a very short amount of time. This has nothing to do with hunger, as patients cannot stop eating after being uncomfortably full. After eating, a person feels extreme guilt or shame even when it is not their fault. Episodes of binge eating disorder can be triggered by trauma, emotional distress, stress, etc.
Health risks include chronic pain, heart diseases, type two diabetes. People also face sleep issues, fertility issues and development of PCOD. Cause of this disorder is due to highly sensitive dopamine and women are more susceptible than men. Symptoms of Binge eating disorder include guilt towards eating, eating while you don’t feel hungry, eating large amounts after a specific time like two hours.
We all have known a friend or two who used to eat chalk or soil as kids. This is known as Pica. They eat substances that can cause harm to human bodies. For instance, hair, paper, soap, laundry detergent, etc. They crave non-food items like normal food. Health problems include food poisoning, fatal injuries due to sharp objects, stomach pain, intestinal blockage. It is common in children up to age six. Also, it can be observed in pregnant women and people with mental disabilities. Cause of Pica is usually due to nutrient deficiency like iron or zinc. However, people who undergo stress or mental illness can develop this disorder.
A mental health professional will diagnose your eating disorder. They will provide you with psychological therapy and medication. You can also consult with a registered dietitian to create a food plan to keep your eating disorder in check. Depending upon your conditions, a treatment plan is devised. This includes treating the unlying health conditions. Many people prefer group cognitive behaviour therapy. Dieticians often help you to understand the importance of nutrients. It comes handy when you reason with your fears.
While professionals help you devise a good strategy, it is important for you to follow. While medicines help with an eating disorder, you may lose motivation and give in to cravings. A lot of the treatment is associated with how you see yourself. In many cases, patients lack self-esteem due to insensitive remarks from others. Instead of struggling to fight this disorder alone, seek help from loved ones. You can include your family or friends to therapy and create a support group. Practise healthy eating habits and don’t be too harsh if you fail a couple of times. With a reliable support structure, you can easily defeat the eating disorder.
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