Eating Disorders – Causes, Types,
Consequences and Treatments
Eating disorders remain hard to treat, and difficult to prevent. An eating disorder is a mental illness that involves abnormal eating habits through either inadequate or extreme food consumption. Millions of Americans are inflicted by eating disorders. There are several types of eating disorders that can affect someone. An eating disorder can affect a person’s physical and mental abilities. Many people are unwilling to admit they have a problem with their food intake and may not seek treatment for that reason.
They tend to have an ideal size in mind. Eating disorders are developed during their attempts to be thinner. Eating disorders can also begin when a person feels circumstances in life are beyond their control. In an effort to feel they have some control, they may begin to attempt to alter the size of their body by restricting food intake and starving their body to the size it was at a more comfortable and focused period in their life. Consuming food when not hungry can, as well, cause feelings of being out of control. This leads to extreme exercising, crash dieting, fasting, and purging in an effort to regulate body weight. Eating disorders may also be caused by previous sexual, emotional and physical abuse. People who suffer abuse often feel empty inside and eating is a way to fill the feelings of internal emptiness (National Institute of Mental Health).
Types of Eating Disorders
One form of an eating disorder is Anorexia nervosa which essentially means self-starvation. People with Anorexia restrict their food intake excessively, have an irrational fear of weight gain, compulsively exercise and have a distorted perception of their body. The word Anorexia means loss of appetite, but people with Anorexia do not actually lose their appetites. People with Anorexia eat everyday but starve their body of necessary nutrients it needs to function efficiently and maintain solid health by severely minimizing the amount of food they intake. Many anorexics suffer from depression (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).
Bulimia is an eating disorder where the person binges and purges. People who binge and purge eat an excessive amount of forbidden food in a small period of time and purge the food and the calories contained in it from their body by vomiting. Purging may also occur through alternative methods such as laxatives and enemas. Excessive exercise is also linked to Bulimia. Similar to anorexia, bulimics will experience depression and anxiety. Bulimics tend to suffer from social phobias as well; they have a fear of humiliation (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).
Compulsive eating is also a known eating disorder. Some people tend to eat in correlation to emotional hunger rather than the physical feeling of hunger. They try to fill the internal emptiness with food. They may lean towards what are known as comfort foods to try to fill the void. Comfort foods are associated with more comfortable, happier periods in a person’s life. This can lead to serious weight management issues causing the person to begin drastic dieting or purging methods to balance the large amount of food consumed (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).
In the United States, there are approximately 8 million people who suffer from an eating disorder; 7 million women and 1 million men (South Carolina Department of Mental Health). Statistics show an immense number of...