EATING DISORDERS

EATING DISORDERS

An eating disorder is a grave type of mental illness that significantly disrupts an individual’s food-related behaviors and self-image. Eating disorders usually cause people to become excessively fixated on thoughts about food and weight. These harmful ideas influence the person’s approach to eating, as well as their overall attitude towards food and physical activity. If left untreated, an eating disorder can cause severe malnutrition from restrictive diets or bingeing/purging behaviors, which puts strain on vital organs like the heart, digestive system, bones, and teeth.

What Causes
Eating Disorders

The risk factors for eating problems aren’t entirely understood; however, they appear to be caused by a mix of genetic, social, psychological, and biological causes. Eating disorders can affect anybody, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or body weight. On the other hand, eating disorders are more common in women and frequently occur during adolescence or early adulthood.

Some factors that may cause eating disorders include:

Mental illness

Eating disorders have been linked to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, and childhood trauma.

Body image issues

If someone is bullied or pressured to meet an ideal weight, they may develop disordered eating habits.

What are the most Common
Eating Disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa

People with anorexia nervosa are usually convinced they are overweight, even if they are malnourished. They will frequently weigh themselves, limiting their calorie intake to a significant degree. Some people suffering from anorexia nervosa may not eat at all and might over-exercise or use laxatives excessively to shed weight.

Of all eating disorders, anorexia nervosa is the most dangerous and has consistently higher death rates than any other mental illness. People usually die from anorexia nervosa due to organ failure caused by complications such as starvation or malnutrition. Anorexia nervosa sufferers are also more likely to commit suicide.

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Restricted eating, or not eating at all
  • Extremely low body weight
  • Lethargy
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image

Long-term physical consequences of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Thinning of the bones, resulting in osteoporosis
  • Muscle wasting and weakness
  • Dry, yellow skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Anemia
  • Chronic constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature
  • Infertility
  • Organ failure
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to the heart

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge eating is a critical component of bulimia nervosa. People with this condition will have frequent, recurrent bouts of overeating. Following these meals, individuals with bulimia nervosa engage in forced vomiting, excessive laxative usage, strenuous exercise, or a combination of all three methods.

Bulimia nervosa does not discriminate based on weight, shape, or size. Individuals underweight, overweight, or average body weight can all suffer from bulimia nervosa. As a result, it is more difficult to identify symptoms in someone with bulimia nervosa.

Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:

  • A chronically sore and inflamed throat from vomiting
  • Decaying, yellow teeth from exposure to stomach acid
  • Acid reflux and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Intestinal distress if abusing laxatives
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Severe dehydration

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder is the most prevalent eating problem. Unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eating as a form of eating illness does not include vomiting, laxative usage, or excessive exercise. People who suffer from binge-eating disorders have no control over their food intake and frequently and uncontrollably eat large quantities of food. People with binge-eating disorders are often overweight and even obese since bingeing is not followed by any type of purging.

Symptoms of binge-eating disorder include:

  • Eating large quantities of food in a single sitting
  • Eating very quickly
  • Eating when not hungry or already full
  • Eating until uncomfortably full and even nauseous
  • Eating in private or keeping binge-eating a secret
  • Feeling ashamed and guilty about eating

Treating Eating
Disorders

Early treatment is essential for people with eating disorders. They are more likely to experience severe, even deadly medical complications if they don’t receive help early on. Additionally, many people who suffer from eating disorders also have other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Some may turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with the intense emotions caused by their condition.

People with eating disorders often turn to stimulants to suppress their appetite, though this method of coping can result in addiction. Furthermore, those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse are at an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. Consequently, treatment therapies must be comprehensive to address all potential underlying causes.

Anorexia can cause a variety of physical health issues. Medical emergencies can result from severe physical health problems that develop from anorexia. You may require hospitalization if you cannot eat or gain weight. In many situations, hospitalization goals are to stabilize acute medical symptoms by initiating the recovery process for eating and weight normalization.

Each person will need a tailored program according to their needs. Because everyone is different, their treatment plans should be approached this way too. Treatment methods that are commonly used to help those with eating disorders include:

Psychotherapy

Talk therapy is an incredibly effective way to help people understand their thoughts, feelings, and self-harming behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically helps people learn how to control their emotions and adopt better coping mechanisms.

Group therapy

Being a part of a supportive community is crucial for people suffering from eating disorders. In group therapy, individuals can share their experiences with the disease and feel understood by others facing similar challenges.

Medical care and monitoring

A doctor or nutritionist will work with the patient to create healthy eating habits and a meal plan. A medical professional may also treat any nutritional deficiencies or physical ailments caused by an eating problem.

Medication

Medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other antidepressants may be prescribed to treat anxiety and depression.

What are the Benefits of Attending an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Inpatient treatment offers 24/7 nursing supervision, medical management, and the oversight of a full-time internal medicine physician and medical team. These procedures help ensure that the treatment team may deal with any medical problems that often accompany eating disorders and provide a smooth transfer to acute care should such circumstances arise.

Eating disorder treatment centers provide a structured and controlled environment, which is essential for healing. Having constant care from a team of specialized professionals makes this approach to recovery effective and successful in overcoming the eating disorder. Because of the comprehensive approach taken by a treatment team within an eating disorder facility, longer-term recovery and healing become possible.

Eating Disorder Recovery is Possible.
Get Help Now

Although there is much false information about eating disorders on the internet, it is entirely possible to recover with appropriate treatment. Remember that you are the most crucial part of your care team and complete recovery from an eating disorder requires active involvement in treatment. Your care team will be able to teach you more about recovery and where to find additional support if needed.

Do not put off regaining control of your life any longer. We are here to assist you. At Psyclarity Health, we focus on helping people with mental illness, or substance use disorders find the best treatment strategy and facility for their needs. One of our compassionate, knowledgeable rehabilitation experts is ready to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get in touch with us right now and begin your journey toward recovery.

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