Eating Disorders: Not Only About Food and Weight
People with eating disorders have unusual attitudes to food and body weight. These behaviors interfere with their lives, causing extreme changes in the way they eat or exercise daily. Some may submit to fasting, strict dieting, over-exercising, and taking pills. Others also use laxatives, diuretics, purging, as well as eating an unusually large amount of food (along with a sense of loss of control).
Serious Mental Illness
It is important to note that eating disorders involve more than misguided perception on food and weight. They are serious mental illnesses that can threaten a person’s life. Professionals who have experience in the treatment of eating disorders note that sufferers often experience extreme disturbances in their eating and exercise habits. Distortions in emotions and thoughts, particularly about self-worth and body image, cause this.
Those with eating disorders can experience different physical and mental health problems. Rapid weight loss is a common effect, but a person does not need to be underweight for these problems to occur. Health consequences may be associated with malnutrition, heart or kidney failure, and brain dysfunction. It is also common they experience mental illness like depression.
Types of Eating Disorders
Most people with eating disorders are usually underweight, but they can also be overweight or within the normal weight range. The three main types of eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Those who are extremely thin and still adhere to strict dieting strategies may have anorexia. It can be bulimia if the person’s habit involve binge eating followed by extreme efforts to lose weight.
A person may have a binge-eating disorder if they often eat a lot over a short period (usually accompanied by loss of control over eating), but does not follow strict dieting strategies. They often feel shame about their habit, resulting in more binge eating. Those with this eating disorder may be overweight or within the normal weight range.
It can be difficult to tell if someone has an eating disorder by simply relying on appearance. It is better to know more about the disorders, the warning signs, as well as psychological and behavioral signs.