People eat for different reasons, which may be healthy or unhealthy and people can end up having eating disorders even without knowing it. According to a research in the American Journal of Psychiatry (1995), nearly half the people with an eating disorder also suffer from depression. Many psychologists argue that while eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating are in the established, they are in fact caused by various other mental conditions and cannot really be viewed as mental disorders on their own. Abnormal eating patterns cause eating disorders and many people tend to eat less or eat more to suppress extreme emotion. It is easy to assume that eating disorder’ would imply that people eat excessive food, but this is not true. In certain cases, people eat very little quantities of food and are unable to get even the minimum required amount of minerals and nutrients.
An eating disorder causes severe disturbances to your daily diet. This is a serious illness that cannot be overlooked. Severe concern or distress about one’s body weight or shape can give rise to eating disorders.
Causes of Eating Disorders:
Research conducted has given results that a. One study even revealed that the brain activity of women with bulimia nervosa was different from the brain activity of healthy women.
There is a vicious cycle of depression and eating disorders and people with either of the two soon find themselves lost and out of control. Each disorder builds on the other one, and the process continues. It is difficult to pin point the cause these, but it can definitely be said that they stem from traumas that cause stress and anxiety. These eating disorders are a means to cope with the stress.
Symptoms and Signs:
- Anorexia Nervosa: People with this disorder consider themselves over weight even when they are clearly underweight. They are obsessed with food, eating and body weight and weigh themselves repeatedly. Extreme thinness or emaciation is the main symptom of this disorder. People with Anorexia generally indulge in binge eating, which is followed by self induced vomiting, extreme dieting, excessive exercise and/or misuse of laxatives etc. They are not willing to maintain a normal healthy weight and relentlessly pursue to be thin. They have a low self esteem and distorted body image. Excessive dieting has severe effects on the body because of lack of nutrients. These include- dry and yellowish shin, brittle hair and nails, lack of menstruation among females, severe constipation. It can also cause infertility and damage to the brain.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Patients with Bulimia eat unusually large amounts of food at frequent intervals. They have a complete lack of control over these eating episodes. After binge eating, patients try to compensate for over eating by vomiting, excessive work out, excessive use of diuretics or laxatives or a combination of these behaviors. However, unlike people with anorexia, they maintain a healthy body weight or are even overweight in certain cases. Bulimia is often accompanied with feelings of disgust and shame. The cycles of binging and purging may happen several times a week or sometimes, even many times a day. The symptoms include- Worn tooth enamel, chronically inflamed and sore throat, severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance in the body, acid reflux disorder etc.
- Binge eating disorder: People suffering from this disorder are not able control their eating and since binge eating is not followed by purging, they often tend to be obese or over weight. They are at a high risk of developing cardio vascular diseases and suffer with high blood pressure. They are ashamed of binge eating and experience guilt and distress.
Eating disorders appear generally during teen years or during young adulthood. Though it is difficult to say how many people suffer from serious eating disorders, but all those who have eating disorders have a distorted self image. Eating disorders are greatly a psychological problem that cannot be overlooked. The desire for a perfect body and social pressure leads to these disorders. Eating disorders are on a rise and steps need to be taken to control these. Just like addiction or any other disorder, it is difficult for people to own up that they are suffering from an eating disorder andto overcome eating disorder. The fact that patients find these conditions absolutely normal makes the situation even worse. There is still a lot to be understood about eating disorders, but it is known for a fact that any eating disorder is extremely dangerous and help needs to be sought before it is too late.