Eating disorders are affecting increasing numbers or people of all ages. Eating disorders are serious health conditions that can be both physically and emotionally destructive that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.
Eating behavior is controlled by a number of factors such as food availability, crave, family or voluntary control, peer and cultural practices. Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal eating behaviors and attitudes about eating, weight, and shape. In general, females diet to a body weight, which is less than what is required for a healthy living.
Eating disorders are serious impacts on one’s eating behaviour. The eating may be too limited (restricting), may be normal eating punctuated with periods of abolition or excessive (compulsive over-eating) followed by the feelings of guilt and distress about body shape and weight.
It is important to consider that eating disorders problem are not because one has failed or lack of will power. In fact it is identified as a medical illness, which is treatable.
The most common types of eating disorders are bulimia and anorexia nervosa. A third type of eating disorders, binge eating disorder is not yet a certified psychiatric diagnosis although it is included.
Even though exact symptoms differ because of individual persona, lifestyle and circumstances, these are three commonly experienced eating problems that often have overlaps among them.
Eating disorders often develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but can take place during childhood or later in adulthood. Females are much more likely than males to develop eating disorders.
It is also estimated that in men, the percentage of those who suffers with anorexia or bulimia may be less than those who suffers with binge eating disorder.
It is very common for an eating disorder to overlap with another psychiatric disorder such as anxiety, depression. The eating disorders sufferers will experience a number of physical health problems such as kidney failure or heart conditions and these conditions can also lead to death.
Symptoms Of Eating Disorders – Anorexia Nervosa
It has been estimated that between 0.5% and 3.7% of females are suffering with anorexia nervosa, a type of eating disorders, at a point of time in their lifetime.
At first, the symptoms of eating disorders may be difficult to identify because the sufferer often hides them. Also, there are some symptoms that can be identified quite early and these include:
- A resistance to maintain body weight at or above normal weight for height and age
- Even though sufferer is underweight, there will be a very extreme fear of becoming fat or gaining weight
- Denial of the seriousness of low body weight or distorted opinion of body shape or weight through self-evaluation.
- Affected menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty that they become infrequent or cease
- Even though sufferers from this disorder are often very thin, they think themselves overweight.
- One of the most affecting problems of anorexia, a type of eating disorders, is that the sufferers are more scared of becoming fat than the illness itself. Eating becomes a strong thing for them as very unusual eating habits develop. So, it is very important for an anorexic to carefully weigh and measure foods.
- An anorexic frequently rechecks their weight and try other methods to lose and control their body weight such as compulsive intense exercises, vomiting or abuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas. Delayed first menstrual period is very common in girls with anorexia.
Anorexia and its outcome vary from individuals. It is therefore essential to recognize and treat eating disorders like anorexia. Some recover fully following a single episode where as others have relapses over a number of years.