An eating disorder is a mental illness in which the affected person eats in an unusual and unhealthy way. This ends up in affecting health. The eating may either be excessive, insufficient, or wrong choices of diet. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the two most common eating disorders. Anorexic people eat very little to nothing, and bulimic people have enormous eating binges and then vomit up the food. People with eating disorders sometimes have both disorders.
Most ill people have severe mental depression along with their eating disorder. Orthorexia is also considered an eating disorder. Orthorexia is when a person is overly obsessed with what the “right” food to eat is, so they end up eating too much Vegan food, raw food, etc., and become nutritionally unbalanced. A bizarre yet not unusual eating disorder is Pica, in which the ill person consumes what is not generally considered food, such as hair, wood, glass, metal or rubber.
The Purging disorder is when a person takes laxatives and vomits excessively without having eating binges. This person usually wants to maintain a certain amount of weight and not gain any more. Scientists suspect that more people have the Purging disorder than anorexia and bulimia combined.
The physical symptoms of a person with an eating disorder can vary, but they are all equally deadly. Starvation caused by Anorexia Nervosa can make most of the organ systems defective. Along with that comes constipation, very low heart rate, dry skin, hypotension, body hair can become thinner, and periods can became scarce or simply not come. Anorexia causes cardiovascular problems, anaemia, brain structure modification, juvenile osteoporosis and kidney dysfunction.
Bulimia and other eating disorders that involve vomiting can cause salivary glands to swell, the tooth enamel to erode, and disturbances to electrolytes and minerals. The Purging disorder, along with the abusive use of laxatives, can bring a long period of bowel dysfunction. Esophagus tearing, stomach ruptures, and deadly irregularities of the heart beat derived from these disorders are other complications that may result.
It is usually difficult to tell when a person suffers from an eating disorder by simply looking at them. They might be people just a little overweight, they can be of normal weight, they can be very thin, they can be very obese. Judging by the appearance of someone with an eating disorder can be very misleading, for their physical appearance might not correspond to their real health.
Eating disorder treatment, nevertheless, can be very effective and the person can go back to normal if they follow the treatment until the end. The sooner the patient is detected as suffering from an eating disorder, the more effective the treatment will be. Yet, the mental complications of a person with such mental illness can lead to thorough psychological and psychiatric treatment in the long run. Anorexia treatment follows three basic steps: 1) restore the weight lost, 2) psychological treatment, 3) achieve long-term remission. Bulimia treatment is first concerned with ending eating binges and purging. In order to do this, nutritional rehab, psychosocial intervention, and medication are all used.
Even though there are many effective ways of treating eating disorders, the most difficult step is the first one: admit that you have an eating disorder. If the person who suffers from an eating disorder does not recognize their illness, treatment will not be effective because they will resist it. So, the most important thing while approaching an anorexic or bulimic is to maintain personal contact and to be open-hearted so they can feel as comfortable as they can to talk about their problems.