Eating Disorders 101: Definition And Signs
Eating disorders are described as illnesses that are characterized by a person’s irregular eating habits and severe distress about body image or weight. Eating disorders include inadequate or excessive food consumption which can adversely affect a person’s wellbeing and overall health in the long run. Anyone, regardless of how young or old, can suffer from eating disorders. And while eating disorders can be treated with professional help like Endeavour Wellness, its symptoms can be deadly if not addressed promptly. Eating disorders can even become the reason why people experience anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and social isolation.Eating disorders come in different types. Because of its variety, people might have difficulties in determining if they’re already suffering from an eating disorder. Or in some cases, people who are experiencing eating disorders defend their ways as “trying to be healthy.” To know where and when to draw the line, consider the different types of eating disorders and the signs associated with these:
- Anorexia Nervosa: This is the most common type of eating disorder. When you have anorexia nervosa, you’d see yourself as someone who’s overweight, but in reality, you’re already underweight. Because of this body image, you’ll take drastic measures in order to “lose weight.” You’d be very keen on the amount and type of food you’ll eat. In worse cases, you’ll choose not to eat at all or avoid any social interactions which may cause you to eat.
Anorexia nervosa is a mental disorder which has the highest mortality rate. Young men and women who are suffering from anorexia nervosa would resort to suicide especially if they think that their efforts to “lose weight” weren’t successful. People who are suffering from anorexia nervosa can also die because of complications due to starvation.Some of the most common signs of anorexia nervosa are:
- A relentless pursuit of thinness;
- Denial of hunger and refusal to eat;
- Excessive exercise;
- Extreme fear of gaining weight;
- Extreme thinness or emaciation;
- Extremely restricted eating or dieting;
- Having an inaccurate body image and self-esteem which is influenced by body weight and shape;
- Obsession with calories, dieting, and food;
- Severe changes in mood and emotional state;
- The unwillingness to maintain a healthy or normal weight.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Unlike anorexia nervosa, people suffering from bulimia nervosa will eat excessive amounts of food during a short period. You’ll have frequent and reoccurring episodes of overeating which you feel like you have no control over. To compensate for the calories you’ve consumed, you’ll force yourself to vomit, use laxatives in excessive amounts, undergo fasting or combine these behaviours. People suffering from bulimia nervosa usually have a healthy or ideal weight for their body.
Most often than not, people with bulimia nervosa can be difficult to treat because they can be very secretive about their behaviours. They can even continue living their lives for decades either thinking that their behaviour is normal or hiding their behaviours from their family and friends.Here are some of the signs which can tell you if you have bulimia nervosa:
- Electrolyte imbalance which can result to stroke or heart attack;
- Feeling of guilt or shame about eating;
- Gastrointestinal problems such as acid reflux disorder;
- Inflamed and sore throat;
- Irritation and intestinal distress from laxative abuse;
- Scars on hands and knuckles;
- Sensitive or decaying tooth due to the exposure of stomach acid;
- Severe dehydration due to purging of liquids;
- Swollen salivary glands in the jaw and neck area;
- Withdrawal from friends and family after eating.
- Binge-eating: If you’re suffering from binge eating, you’ll easily lose control over your eating. This means that you’ll be eating in excessive amounts too frequently without thinking about what you’re actually eating. But unlike bulimia nervosa, the episodes of binge-eating aren’t followed by any purging behaviour like forced vomiting, fasting or laxatives use. Because of this, you’ll end up being overweight or obese.
Binge-eating disorder can be classified by these signs:
- Creates lifestyle changes to allow binge eating sessions;
- Eating alone or in secret to avoid judgment, guilt or embarrassment;
- Eating extremely fast during episodes of binge-eating;
- Eating more food even when full or not hungry;
- Eating until you’re extremely full;
- Eating unusually large amounts of food during a specific time frame.
- Following several diet trends without weight loss;
- Steals or hoards food in strange places.
There Are No Shortcuts
There’s nothing really wrong if you’re conscious about your weight. Many people would consider their weight as an important factor which influences their self-confidence, the ability to maintain and create relationships and career opportunities. However, if you’re taking for granted your health and nutrition just so you can attain a certain weight, that’s another story. You might achieve your target weight for two weeks but taking shortcuts will only do more harm than good to your health. This can even become the reason why you’d suffer from life-threatening illnesses and diseases. If you want to work on your weight, regardless if you want to gain or lose, work for your goals without taking any shortcuts. The process might be time-consuming, demanding and challenging but if you’re doing it healthily, all of your efforts will be worth it in the end.