Eating Disorder: A vicious cycle of Self Abuse
Eating Disorders are psychological illnesses defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common specific forms of eating disorders. Other types of eating disorders include binge eating disorder and OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder).
Some eating disorder signs are obvious: dramatic weight loss, a refusal to eat, retreating to the bathroom for long periods after meals. But anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder also reveal themselves in more subtle ways.
Common Amongst them are:
Anorexia nervosa : is characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight or shape. People with anorexia use extreme efforts to control their weight and shape, which often significantly interferes with their health and life activities.
Bulimia nervosa : When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging. Purging can include self-induced vomiting, over-exercising, and the usage of diuretics, enemas, and laxatives
Binge-eating disorder : is when you regularly eat too much food (binge) and feel a lack of control over your eating. You may eat quickly or eat more food than intended, even when you’re not hungry, and you may continue eating even long after you’re uncomfortably full.
Pica : Pica is persistently eating nonfood items, such as soap, cloth, talcum powder or dirt, over a period of at least one month. Eating such substances is not appropriate for the person’s developmental level and not part of a specific cultural or social practice.
Persistently eating these nonfood items can result in medical complications such as poisoning, intestinal problems or infections. Pica often occurs along with other disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability.
Rumination disorder: Rumination disorder is repeatedly and persistently regurgitating food after eating, but it’s not due to a medical condition or another eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Food is brought back up into the mouth without nausea or gagging. Sometimes regurgitated food is re-chewed and re-swallowed or spit out.
The disorder may result in malnutrition if the food is spit out or if the person eats significantly less to prevent the behavior. The occurrence of rumination disorder may be more common in infancy or in people who have an intellectual disability.
Avoidance/restrictive food intake disorder : This is characterized by failing to meet your minimum daily nutrition requirements because you don’t have an interest in eating; you avoid food with certain sensory characteristics, such as color, texture, smell or taste; or you’re concerned about the consequences of eating, such as fear of choking. Food is not avoided because of fear of gaining weight.
It can result in significant weight loss or failure to gain weight in childhood, as well as nutritional deficiencies that can cause health problems.
Avoidance/restrictive food intake disorder is not diagnosed when symptoms are part of another eating disorder, such as anorexia, or part of a medical problem or other mental disorder
The precise cause of eating disorders is not entirely understood, but there is evidence that it may be linked to other medical conditions and situations. Cultural idealization of thinness and youthfulness have contributed to eating disorders affecting diverse populations.
Although they are increasing all over the world among both men and women, there is evidence to suggest that it is women in the Western world who are at the highest risk of developing them and the degree of westernization increases the risk. While proper treatment can be highly effective for many suffering from specific types of eating disorders, the consequences can be severe, including death (whether from direct medical effects of disturbed eating habits or from comorbid conditions such as suicidal thinking).
How can you tell if a friend or family member is at risk?
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Also published on Medium.