One of the top ten causes of disability in young females is Eating Disorder. Eating disorders are severe psychological and physical illnesses characterized by complex and harmful relationships with food, eating, exercise, and physical appearance.
These disorders affect almost 20 million females and 10 million men in the United States, and they can be found in all demographics.
The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) records Eating Disorders under the classification of “Feeding & Eating Disorders” and they are described by a disturbance of eating or eating-related conduct that results in significant emotional distress and psychosocial impairment.
Over the last ten years, binge-eating disorder (BED) and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) have been added under the umbrella of eating disorders alongside Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.
Eating disorders frequently co-occur with other psychological conditions, most notably mood and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and problems with alcohol and drugs.
While genetics play a role in why some people are predisposed to an eating disorder, however, these illnesses also have a prominent environmental etiology as well.
Different Eating Disorders
There are specific criteria for each diagnosis that differentiate it from other disorders.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder described by a refusal to keep up insignificantly ordinary body weight, fear of putting on weight, and distorted body image.
The normal period of the beginning of the sickness is 17 years in females and 18 years in men, with the typical range being between 15 and 19 years. Behavioral characteristics are diverse, but often include:
- Diuretic or laxative abuse (self-induced vomiting)
- Underweight as compared to individuals with similar age
- serious dread of putting on weight or persevering practices to abstain from putting on weight, regardless of being underweight
- A tenacious quest for slimness and reluctance to keep a healthy weight
- A significant impact of body weight or saw body shape on confidence
- A twisted self-perception, including refusal of being genuinely underweight
DSM 5 classified anorexia into two subtypes, the restricting, binge-eating, and purging types. People with the binge-eating and purging type may gorge on a lot of food or eat practically nothing. In such cases, after eating, they purge by throwing up, taking purgatives or diuretics, and exercising exorbitantly.
Bulimia nervosa is a disorder in eating that feels out of control and characterized by ravine overeating, followed by remorse, depression, and frustration towards one another. Recurrent compensatory actions accompany the overfeeding, such as purging.
Patients with the purging type take part in ordinary regurgitating and utilization of diuretics or cathartics. Patients with the non-purging type make up for unhealthy gorges with ensuing caloric limitation or exercise; they purge once in a while.
The outset of bulimia nervosa is usually later in youth than in anorexia nervosa, with the most elevated occurrence rates somewhere between 20 and 24 years old.
Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa include
- Recurrent events of gorging with a sensation of the absence of control
- repetitive events of improper cleansing practices forestalling weight gain
- Confidence excessively affected by body shape and weight
- A dread of putting on weight, notwithstanding having an ordinary weight
Binge Eating Disorder
Individuals with binge-eating disorders let completely go over their eating. Dissimilar to bulimia nervosa, intervals of binge-eating are not trailed by purging, unreasonable exercise, or fasting. Therefore, individuals with binge-eating disorders typically are overweight or hefty. Binge-eating disorder is the most well-known dietary issue in the U.S.
The binge-eating purging type exists in up to half of people with anorexia nervosa. These people may have a past filled with heavier body weight and relatives who are stout.
Symptoms of Binge-eating disorder includes
- Devouring food, covertly, and until awkwardly full notwithstanding not feeling hungry
- Feeling an absence of control during scenes of gorging
- Sensations of trouble, like disgrace, disdain, or blame, when considering the gorging conduct
- No use of purging practices, like calorie limitation, regurgitating, and purgative or diuretic abuse.
Other Eating Disorders
Apart from these three, there are several other kinds of eating disorders. These are less frequent but exist as well.
- Purging disorder is an eating disorder where individuals involved in purging by using laxatives and diuretics to maintain their “so-called” body shape and weight.
- Night eating disorder, in which a person often has the urge to eat excessively at night.
- Specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED) is specifically not a type of eating disorder, but researchers may find its symptoms similar to eating disorders.
Causes Of Developing Eating Disorders
The exact causes of having eating disorders is still unclear, but a variety of factors trigger this disorder. Many psychological, environmental, and biological factors lead to the development of eating disorders.
Persons with a family history of the mental disability experience mental illness themselves. Although the mental disorder is not food-borne. Food disorders often co-occur with diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, or problems of substance use.
The medical history of individuals can also raise the risk of an eating disorder because research shows that certain diseases, like Type 1 Diabetes, are linked to a higher risk of developing eating disorders.
There are particular personality characteristics that research has shown can increase the probability of a food disorder, such as
- Lack of confidence in yourself
- A feeling of shame and embarrassment
- The negative image of your body and shape
- Low self-esteem
This may include family relationships since family opinions and debates on weight, food, and self-vision are shown to be linked to diagnoses of eating disorders.
- Having dysfunctional family
- Traumatic family experiences, child neglect, and child abuse
- Cultural difference and pressure among co-workers and friends
- Stress and hectic life transitions
Symptoms Of Having Eating Disorders
Individuals with this disorder may show several symptoms and signs that cannot be ignored
- Persistent fluctuations in eating habits and body weight
- Introduce chronic diet and weight loss plan in daily life
- Obsession with losing weight and eating fewer calories
- Constant depression, lethargy, and fatigue
- Opt to isolation, avoid social gatherings, and remain at home
- Excessive eating disturbance, bouncing between fasting and overeating
How Treatment and Self-help can improve Quality of Life
One should seek treatment for eating disorders as early as possible. Eating disorders are more likely to lead to suicide and medical complications. People with eating disorders can often experience other mental conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety) or substance use problems.
- A food disorder is a complex disorder. Experts develop an appropriate nutritional and treatment plan to combat their complications.
- Patient’s quality of life is badly interrupted by eating disorders, as it affects them negatively by cutting down social interaction with their friends and family. Physical and mental health deteriorates immensely. Families of afflicted individuals experience significant stress and may go through repeated periods of crisis.
- With the encouragement of family and receiving effective therapy sessions, restore the patient, enhance their social circle of communication. Psychotherapy saves the patient by improving a healthy relationship with food and giving ample freedom to do physical activities.
Eating disorders are severe mental health problems, which often cause long-lasting damage to the brain and body if left untreated. If you have an eating disorder or know someone who might have an eating disorder, seek help from an eating disorder specialist.