Contrary to popular belief, an eating disorder is not characterized as being fat, rather it is a mental illness that can have considerable effects on a person’s life. In these diseases, the patients have irregular eating habits and eating is also accompanied with such thoughts and emotions that disturb the patients. People become obsessed with having a certain weight, or body shape and start experiencing severe anxiety due to this obsession that can develop eating disorders. They become very keen on eating certain types of foods and counting calories in every meal.
Sometimes the patients eat too much or too little due to anxiety depending on the type of eating disorder they are suffering from. Although some of these disorders can be treated with medicines but to get rid of them forever, people need to consult behavioral therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and nutrition dietitians. Moreover, various rehabilitation centers provide professional help for such patients and do their best to help them walk on the path to a healthy life. For more information, visit Ocean Recovery.
Types of eating disorders
Eating disorders have various types some of which are described below:
People suffering from bulimia nervosa tend to eat an excessive amount of food in a short period of time and keep eating until their stomachs feel full to the brim. It can be the type of food that people normally avoid like cream pies, cakes, or other high-calorie foods and the person feels like he has no control over the amount of food he is consuming. After binge eating, the patient feels sick which usually results in self-induced vomiting, fasting, or excessive exercise that are called compensatory behaviors. These patients are not normally underweight. Bulimic patients often suffer from painful sore throats, heartburn, dental decay, and recurrent diarrhea. Bulimia nervosa is more common in women, especially young girls. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to help patients to overcome their illnesses and employ normal eating habits.
In this eating disorder, the patient tends to eat weird things that are not actually considered food. This disorder usually develops in mentally ill people, children, or even pregnant women. They get a strong craving to eat things like dirt, soap, chalk, wool, laundry detergent, paint, or hair. Since some of these materials are quite harmful if ingested, they can become life-threatening. There is a risk of internal injuries, poisoning, not to mention serious infections. If this behavior becomes too frequent then it may need serious medical attention. Behavioral therapy helps in treating these patients, moreover, the doctors can carry out a thorough check-up to see if the patient has any nutritional deficiencies so that they may be addressed correctly to avoid such behavior again.
Anorexia nervosa is one of the most serious eating disorders with a high mortality rate. Anorexic patients have an extreme fear of gaining too much weight and becoming obese which results in them starving themselves and losing weight to a dangerously low point. They become extremely frail and have lower weight and height than is normal in people of their age. It is common in adolescents and affects women more than men. The impossible and fake beauty standards that the media shows, can have a significant mental and physical effect on young people when they try to follow them and end up with serious disorders.
Anorexic patients feel like they are gaining weight and becoming fat even if in reality, they are dangerously underweight. Anorexic patients have two types; one type of patients lose weight by fasting excessively, and having a strict diet while the other type usually indulges in binge eating and later self-induced vomiting. These behaviors have considerable negative effects on their bodies and these patients, due to being quite weak, often suffer from a weak immune system, muscle weakness, severe constipation, heartburn, and dizziness.
This eating disorder is very unusual in which the patient after chewing and swallowing his food regurgitates it and chews it again, after which he either swallows it again or spits it out. This is not like reflux of food, rather it is a voluntary action. It can develop in infants, children, or even adults. Sometimes, it disappears on its own after a while but other times, the patient may need medical attention.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder ARFID
Previously, this illness was considered specific for children under the age of 7 years and it was called, “feeding disorder of infancy and childhood.” Later it was discovered that it can also develop in adults and it is common in both men and women. In this condition, the patient continuously avoids food intake, especially due to being a picky eater which results in his nutrition intake not being fulfilled. The patient suffers from malnutrition and loses a lot of weight. The patient suffering from this disorder is not usually concerned with his weight or the shape of the body. These eating behaviors can affect the family and social function because they do not eat with other people. ARFID can be treated with the help of a dietitian and mental health professionals.
Reasons for the development of eating disorders
Eating disorders result from various reasons such as genetics, different personality types, varying brain structures, or cultural standards of beauty set up by society and media. These disorders can be passed on from one generation to another as heredity. Moreover, people with impulsive, neurotic, or perfectionist personalities are often at risk of developing an eating disorder. Another reason is the aforementioned impossible beauty standards that pressure people into forcing themselves to go through such difficult ordeals so that society may think that they are attractive. Some scientists seem to believe that different biological chemistry or brain structures can result in the development of eating disorders. These eating disorders are mental health illnesses that need to be treated accordingly to help the patient live a happy and healthy life and he can receive the necessary treatment at rehabilitation centers.