People who are overly concerned about their weight and body appearance may develop eating disorders. If you are severely distressed about your physical appearance, you might resort to irregular eating habits that wreak havoc on your health. There are several types of eating disorders that may have symptoms of insufficient or excessive eating. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating are some of the most common types of eating disorders. Both males and females can become victims of these conditions. Teenagers or early adults are more susceptible to developing irregular eating habits.
Eating disorders have been classified as medical illnesses that need medical treatments as well. Treatment measures for these disorders can be highly effectual. If you or anybody you know is suffering from any of these conditions, you must seek professional medical help immediately. If not addressed promptly, the consequences can be detrimental. Eating disorders typically co-exist with other emotional issues such as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.
- Anorexia nervosa is a common type of eating disorder. People suffering from this condition have an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Their perception of their body weight tends to be unrealistic as they refuse to keep their weights at a healthy level. Anorexia nervosa victims always believe that they are overweight, when in fact they are underweight already. They fiercely eat too little food. The consequences of being anorexic are detrimental, and these include multi-organ failure, brain damage, infertility, heart problems and bone loss. There is high risk of death for people suffering from anorexia nervosa.
- Bulimia nervosa is another irregular eating disease. Its symptoms include eating large amounts of food (binge eating) and afterwards compensating for it by forcing vomiting. To upset their binge eating, bulimics may also exercise excessively or take large amounts of diuretics or laxatives. Bulimic men and women are severely unhappy about their body weight and appearance. They fear gaining weight as well. Bulimics’ tendency to binge and purge are typically done in secret, which results to them feeling guilty, shameful and out-of-control. The injuring effects of bulimia are severe hydration, gastrointestinal problems and electrolyte imbalance that may lead to heart difficulties.
- Binge eating disorders. This disorder is characterized by being out-of-control in eating. But unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eaters do not purge, exercise excessively or take diuretics or laxatives after overeating. That’s why binge eaters tend to be obese. Because of excessive body weight, people suffering from binge eating may also develop cardiovascular disease. Thos struggling with this disease may also suffer from feelings of distress, guilt and embarrassment over their excessive eating, which in turn worsen their eating habit disorder.
A facet of factors lead to the development of eating habit disorders, although the exact cause cannot yet be pinpointed. Biological factors such as irregular hormonal functioning, nutritional deficiencies and genetics have been considered as causes. Psychological factors may be the culprits, too, such as poor self-esteem and negative body image. Environmental factors that may cause eating habit disorders are certain careers and professions that demand being thin (modeling and ballet), aesthetically-oriented sports that require maintain a lean body for better performance (ballet, wresting, gymnastics, diving, rowing, etc.). Childhood and family traumas, dysfunctional family dynamics, cultural and peer pressure and stressful life changes are other possible environmental causes of eating disorders.
Varying levels of treatment are available, so if you or a family member or friend are suffering from any of these eating disorders, you must seek help immediately.