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By Dr Siva Anoop Yella
Consultant NeuroPsychiatrist and Therapist
Published on 26/12/2022

Overview

People battling an eating disorder mask a daily struggle!

People of any age, gender, body weight, shape, or size can suffer from eating disorders. Physical, mental, and emotional symptoms differ from person to person and depend on the type of eating disorder. Treatment may include a combination of cognitive therapy, medication, and other therapies. Let's understand more about eating disorders!

Understanding Eating Disorders: What are Eating Disorders and its types?

An eating disorder is a severe, complex medical health issue that affects both emotional and physical health and can lead to fatality. People who suffer from eating disorders have unhealthy connections with food, weight, and looks. They are identified by intense anxiety or distress about body form or weight and irregular eating habits.

Eating disorders can affect anyone, but they are most common in young adults and adolescents. Eating disorders can be treated; if left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are various types of eating problems, and some people may suffer from multiple types of eating disorders. These include:

Anorexia nervosa

People suffering from anorexia nervosa severely restrict their food and calories, sometimes starving. Anorexia can affect people of any size. It can be identified by an obsession with weight loss and a refusal to eat enough food for the body type and level of exercise.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa sufferers binge or overeat, or believe they had, during a short period of time. After that, they might force themselves to get rid of the calories in some other way, like vomiting, using laxatives, or indulging in excessive exercise.

Binge eating disorder (BED)

A person with a binge eating disorder shows a loss of control over their eating. They consume a lot of food quickly, or they think they ate. However, they don't vomit food or burn off calories through exercise after binge eating. Instead, they experience uncomfortable fullness and could battle despair, regret, or guilt.

Know the Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Those who have eating disorders exhibit a lot of warning signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Constant weight fluctuation
  • Ritualistic eating practices, such as eating alone, hiding food, and chopping food into tiny pieces, are practised.
  • Being lethargic or depressed
  • alternating between periods of feasting and fasting
  • Despite being severely underweight, chronic dieting
  • Obsessed with food fat content and calories
  • Fixated on recipes and cooking, they may create elaborate meals for others yet refuse to eat them.
  • Isolation and withdrawal; avoiding social gatherings and meeting friends and relatives

What are the causes of eating disorders?

Although the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, researchers believe it is a combination of psychological, environmental, and biological factors.

Psychological factors

Low self-esteem and a poor bodily image

Environmental factors

Dysfunctional families, sports that emphasize a lean body for improved performance, childhood trauma, peer pressure, stressful life events

Biological factors

Genetics, irregular hormone functions, nutritional deficiencies.

How are eating disorders diagnosed?

To diagnose an eating disorder, the doctor will perform a physical check to determine whether a medical condition is causing any eating disorders. The doctor can also conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation, which may include self-assessment questionnaires.

What issues can eating disorders cause? Know the Complications of Eating Disorders!

Eating disorders are the second most fatal psychiatric condition, after only opioid use disorder in terms of fatality. Extreme calorie restriction, vomiting, or extreme exercise can all severely impact overall health. Untreated eating disorders put people at risk for serious issues such as:

Now the question is; How are Eating Disorders Treated?

A complete treatment strategy is required to heal and recover from eating disorders. A treatment plan usually includes the following components:

Nutrition

This includes guidance on eating properly, recovering and stabilizing weight, and developing a personalized meal plan that provides ideal nourishment.

Medical care and monitoring

The main aim of eating disorder treatment is to address any health issues resulting from eating disorder behavior.

Therapy

To treat the underlying cause of the eating disorder, various types of therapy, such as individual, family, and group counseling, are used. This is an essential component of treatment because it assists the client in overcoming traumatic life events and developing coping mechanisms.

Medication

In cases where mood or anxiety symptoms emerge due to an eating disorder, some medications may be required. Medication helps in the reduction of binge eating.

How can one prevent an eating disorder?

If eating disorders run in the family, being aware of the warning signals is a good way to begin to spot the problem early. Prompt treatment can help break harmful eating habits before they become more challenging. One can also lower the chances of developing an eating disorder by seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, and OCD.

At Medicover Hospitals, we understand the severity and possible fallout of an eating disorder. Our team of medical experts, dietitians, and therapists makes every effort to ensure a comfortable treatment experience.

Consult a psychiatrist for any eating disorder issues.