Today many people around the world die from psychological illnesses. Studies reveal that eating disorders lead to the maximum number of deaths resulting from such psychological disorders. Thus any eating syndrome is serious, infact dangerous. Whether it is anorexia nervosa, night eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, PICA, binge eating or anything else, it must be taken seriously and treated so that the patient can lead a normal life. However, the diagnosis and treatment of an abnormal eating pattern is not so easy. Sometimes many patients die as they do not get treatment at the right time. Again most of the times many individuals or their family members remain unaware of the disease. So it is essential for us to know the common symptoms and effects of these disorders.
As there are a number of eating disorders, there are a number of symptoms. The symptoms vary from one syndrome to another. Binge eating syndrome, anorexia, night eating syndrome, PICA, bulimia nervosa and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified are the most common types of unhealthy eating behaviors. You must know the common signs of these disorders.
- If a person starves so that they can be slim even when they have healthy bodyweight, then they might have anorexia nervosa. Fatigue, brittle nails, irregular periods in case of women, growth of lanugo, etc., are some common symptoms.
- If a person fluctuates between binging and purging, that is eating heavy meals and then vomiting, using laxative or over exercising, then they may be suffering from bulimia nervosa. Abnormal bowel functioning, sores in the mouth and throat, heartburn, going to the bathroom after meals, hiding food etc., are the symptoms of this disorder.
- Binge eating happens when a person is unable to control their urge for eating. They feel depressed and guilty during and after binging. Eating food in heavy quantities until the point of physical discomfort, frequent weight loss and gain, making self-defeating statements, high cholesterol levels, mood swings etc., are the symptoms of this disorder.
Such a syndrome has a number of serious health consequences. You may appear to be normal, but this does not surely dictate that you are healthy and are not exposed to any kind of risks. The effects of abnormal eating patterns can be dangerous to the point of death.
- Dehydration caused by lack of essential fluids in the body. It can cause brain damage, kidney failure, seizures and even death.
- Amenorrhea, that is, absence of period
- Deficiency in digestive enzymes leading to a disturbed digestive system
- Mental and emotional issues like forgetfulness
- Anemia mainly found in anorexic patients can result in fatigue.
- Osteoporosis, again found in anorexic patients that results in weak bones and make them prone to fracture
Besides these, these disorders may also result in osteomalacia, hypothermia, hypoglacema, vitamin deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Detecting an unhealthy eating behavior may not be easy for everyone (patients or for their family members also). You never know when your sister or uncle has started developing some unhealthy eating patterns. You may have noticed that sometimes they show some not-so-normal eating patterns, which may seem to be casual. However, if these behaviors persist for some long time, the individual must be taken to a physician who will confirm the existence of any specific eating syndrome. Once you identify the symptoms and start taking precautions, half of the battle is won.