As opposed to the public’s perception of eating disorders, they are not simply a lifestyle choice or excessive eating or dieting. They are serious mental conditions that involve irregular eating behaviors. In fact, anorexia has taken more lives than any other type of mental illness.
People suffering from an eating disorder could limit their food intake or eat in large quantities at once. They may also try to get rid of the food they have eaten through purging, fasting, misusing laxative, or exercising excessively. The three main types of eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
What causes eating disorders?
It’s not exactly clear what causes an eating disorder, but certain factors and facets of life contribute to its development. Such factors can be biological, psychological, social, or environmental.
What are the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder?
It’s hard to tell if someone is suffering from an eating disorder because they will try really hard to hide their condition from everyone. It also doesn’t help that many people with an eating disorder look healthy on the outside. However, there are still several telltale signs that someone close to you may be suffering from an eating disorder. Some of them are:
- Excessive dieting or exercising even though they are already considered underweight.
- They tend to be a little too concerned about the calories and fat content of food and even engages in ritualistic actions before eating, such as cutting their food into small bits.
- They may also go through a lethargic or depression stage and may even avoid joining social functions, such as family gatherings.
What are the treatments available?
A treatment for an eating disorder may involve one or a combination of the following approaches:
- Nutritional management
- Medical care and health monitoring
Eating disorders are complex conditions that require customized treatment approaches for each individual because not everyone will have the same symptoms or respond to the same treatment. The overall health of the patient should also be taken into consideration.