Eating disorders can affect anyone from any background. While the media portrays women as suffering from eating disorders, they are common in men as well. An eating disorder is defined as any abnormal eating that is detrimental to the body. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two of the best known eating disorders.
Eating disorders can be triggered by many situations. Peer pressure on young individuals is a large factor in childhood eating disorders. Other disorders, like pica and binge eating, seem to affect any person regardless of social status and childhood.
Treatment of eating disorders is very important, as prolonged suffering can cause a myriad of symptoms. They can include weight loss, weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, and death. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, contact your health care professional or mental health line for assistance.
Here are 10 different eating disorders with the symptoms they may show.
Anorexia nervosa is one of the best known eating disorders. This is partly because of how outwardly telling the illness is. Individuals who have suffered from anorexia nervosa have telltale symptoms such as low body fat, poor skin and hair, and eventually organ failure. One sign of an anorexic person would be skipping meals. They may say that they have previously eaten or will eat shortly after seeing you. They may plan visits to be after lunch or dinner so they don’t have to share a meal with another person.
Bulimia nervosa is another notable eating disorder. Bulimics are known for purging after a meal. This can be done a number of ways, but typically they will throw up the food or abuse laxatives. They may eat normal meals, restrict their food intake, or overeat. One sign of a bulimic individual is using the washroom right after a meal. You may hear signs of vomiting while they’re in the washroom. Bulimics may complain of suffering from the stomach flu to explain their actions.
Binge eating is one of the most common eating disorders. It is also called compulsive overeating. Sufferers will regularly overeat on unhealthy foods, like fast food, fatty foods, and high sugar foods. Immediately after eating the large quantity of food, the individual may feel ashamed, sick, and depressed. One sign of a binge eating individual is enjoying vast quantities of food until they become physically sick. They may throw up just due to the amount of food they consumed.
Anorexia athletica is a condition when an individual is obsessed with burning off the calories they eat. They may be fanatical about their health in other ways, such as following food trends like organic foods and eating gluten free. One sign of an anorexia athletica individual is complaining about how long they will have to exercise to burn off the calories from a meal. They may not talk about these thoughts, but instead will spend hours running or working out.
Anorexia nervosa involves starving your body of food and losing dramatic amounts of weight. Restricting your food groups, such as carbohydrates or fats, or excessive exercising to lose weight, may be the start of anorexia. If you have bulimia nervosa, your weight may be normal, as you have bouts of overeating. You may use vomiting and laxatives to try to control your weight gain. The medical profession sometimes takes binge eating disorder less seriously, according to the National Centre for Eating Disorders, but compulsive eating may mean that food rules your life, as you struggle with constant dieting attempts.
You are most likely to develop an eating disorder if you are female, between 12 and 25 years old, according to the charity B-eat, but disorders can begin as late as middle age. Sufferers, whether male or female, often trace the beginning of their illness to occasions when someone called them fat. Eating can become a problem if you use food as a support when you feel lonely, anxious or bored. Difficulties with friends, work, college, school or family may be part of the problem.
Ask yourself whether you feel guilty about eating, vomit or use laxatives to keep your weight down or feel depressed. Do you sometimes pretend to have eaten, avoid many different foods and feel ashamed if you eat them? If other people are worried you are too thin, but you disagree, or if your weight goes up and down constantly, you may be at risk of an eating disorder. If you have overwhelming cravings for food that you think you must avoid, or if you think constantly about food, calories and your weight, you should consider talking to a sympathetic person about your eating patterns.
You may find it hard to overcome an eating disorder without help, and the best place to start is with your GP. Treatment may involve counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or family therapy, or combinations of these, based on guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Your GP may offer you a place at a specialist eating disorders unit, where a psychiatrist can assess your illness.
Hypnotherapy can be used to help individuals suffering from eating disorders. Hypnosis is used to identify the root cause of the problem so that the emotional aspect can be dealt with. Negative behaviour patterns can be looked at and more positive habits can be learnt. Hypnotherapy can help to improve self confidence and self image so that the individual is able to view themselves differently.
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