Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate: What are Eating Disorders
Eating disorders, much like addictions, are no respecter of age, weight, social status, race, or ability. Many feel eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. A choice made simply to fit into a particular mold. However, this could not be further from the truth. Eating disorders are, in fact, serious and many times fatal. It causes illnesses that create severe issues with a person’s eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body shape, and weight are signals that an eating disorder is developing or exists. The three most common disorders will be described below. Along with potential treatment options.
People with anorexia nervosa, most commonly referred to as anorexia, may see themselves as overweight. Even if they are much smaller than is healthy. They are likely to weigh themselves repeatedly during the day while restricted food intake. Sometimes to nothing. Many will end up dying from complications. Or in some cases, suicide. The first notable symptoms are of course a restriction of the amount and types of food they eat. A relentless pursuit of thinness. Plus a distorted body image. The individuals with anorexia will not recognize their unhealthiness. As it persists, they may show thinning of the bones, anemia, muscle wasting, and heart damage. Among other severe signs.
Those with bulimia nervosa, typically just called bulimia, have a combination of recurrent binge eating and purging cycles. During binge eating episodes the person will indulge in large amounts of often unhealthy food. Which is then purged from the body by forced vomiting or the use of laxative and diuretics. Unlike anorexics, bulimics often maintain a healthy weight. However, they are not healthy. Symptoms of bulimia are a chronically sore throat, swollen glands in the neck and jaw. May also include acid reflux, severe dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. Though a healthy weight is often maintained, the binging and purging cycle is tough on the body. It all results in a slow breakdown of the system.
Unlike bulimics and anorexics, binge eaters are typically overweight or obese. This is due to excessive overeating over time. Symptoms of binge eating include consuming large amounts of food in a short amount of time. As well as eating quickly, and eating when not hungry or already full. Many binge eaters will also hide their eating habits. Frequently diet without weight loss. Often feel shame and guilt over their behavior.
Each of these eating disorders is dangerous. Each require specific treatment. The use of individual, family, and group therapy are popular. Medical care monitoring, nutritional counseling, and medications are often necessary. Through these treatments the person can learn to live a healthy life. All while taking care of themselves. The biggest obstacle to treatment for eating disorders is that unlike other addictions, eating is necessary. Most addiction treatments teach abstinence from the problematic substances. However, food is needed for survival. The sufferer must learn to live in a healthy relationship with food. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder than seek help immediately. DARA offers inpatient facilities that will support you or your loved one on their journey to a much healthier life that can be truly enjoyed.
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