Eating disorders have been affecting millions of individuals all over the world, usually, women aging 12 to 35 years old. Eating disorders are an array of psychological conditions causing unhealthy eating habits to develop. Eating disorders may begin to take place with an obsession with body shape, body weight, and foods.
Individuals with eating disorders experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors as well as related emotions and thoughts. Sufferers from these disorders are usually preoccupied with their body weight and foods. In some severe cases, these can result in health consequences and worst death the serious eating disorders are left untreated.
Causes of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can be categorized as serious cases often related to tenacious eating behaviors that impact the health negatively as well as emotions and individuals’ ability to function in most important areas in their life.
Experts stated that eating disorders might be caused by many different factors, such as:
Studies that involve twins separated by birth and twins adopted by different families give evidence that eating disorders might be hereditary. It has been found out that if one of the twins develops an eating disorder, the other one has a 50% likelihood also to develop it.
These are also causes of eating disorders. Perfectionism, impulsivity, and neuroticism are personality traits usually linked to a higher risk of developing eating disorders.
These also play a role in developing eating disorders. Environmental causes might include feeling pressured to look a particular way, traumatic experiences, family dynamics, requirement s for sports performance, and more.
Some individuals may not know it, but culture also plays a crucial in causing eating disorders. Each day, individuals are besieged with many messages about fad diets, unrealistic images of the body, and beauty. Individuals suffering from eating disorders are abnormally preoccupied with foods, particularly with labelings such as bad foods and good foods.
Different Types of Eating Disorders
As mentioned, eating disorders come in different forms, such as:
Of all the types of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa is the most common. This often develops during young adulthood or adolescence, and these tend to affect women more than men. Individuals with anorexia see themselves as overweight though the truth is they’re underweight. They also monitor their weight constantly, avoid eating particular foods, and restrict their calories very strictly.
Anorexia Nervosa symptoms are:
- Being so underweight compared to individuals of the same height and age
- Highly restricted patterns of eating
- Relentless thinness pursuits and also unwillingness to keep a healthy weight
- Ultimate fear to gain weight
- Avoid gaining weight despite being underweight
Individuals with anorexia also struggle in eating in public and display an intense desire to control their environment as well as their ability to be spontaneous. Anorexia Nervosa is categorized into two-the purging and binge eating type and restricting type.
Another type of eating disorder is Bulimia Nervosa. Same as the Anorexia Nervosa, this also develops during the period of adolescence as well in the phase of early adulthood. This type is more common among women than men. A person is said to be suffering from this eating disorder, unusually eat larger amounts of foods in a particular period of time. Binges happen with any kind of food and usually occur with foods that individuals typically avoid.
Common symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa are:
- Self-esteem highly influenced by weight and shape
- Recurrent episodes of unsuitable purging behaviors to avoid weight gain
- Fear of weight gain through having just the right weight
Binge Eating Disorder
This is a very common eating disorder, particularly in the US. This might begin during adolescence and in early adulthood but can also take place later on. Those with binge eating disorders typically consume an unusual amount of food in a shorter period of time. Individuals living with binge eating disorders don’t limit calories or make use of purging behaviors like excessive exercise or vomiting to compensate for the binges.
Some of the common symptoms are:
- Feeling lack of control of in the course of binge eating episodes
- Eat a larger quantity of foods rapidly and secretly until full despite not being hungry
- Distress like disgust, guilt or shame when thinking about binge-eating behaviors and more
Individuals with this kind of eating disorder are usually obese and overweight.
This type of eating disorder includes eating things that aren’t even considered foods. Individuals with this kind of eating disorder often crave non-food substances like chalk, soap, soil, dirt, ice, detergent, cornstarch, pebbles, wool, cloth, hair, paper, and more. This disorder can take place in adolescents, children, and adults. This is also often observed in pregnant women, people with mental disabilities, and children.
Symptoms of Pica eating disorder are:
- Stomach pain
- Stomach upset
- Blood in a stool that can also be a sign of ulcer developed due to eating non-foods
- Bowel problems like diarrhea or constipation
Individuals experiencing Pica eating disorder might be in increased risks of infections, poisoning, nutritional deficiencies, and gut injuries. Pica can be fatal, but this depends on the ingested substance.
This type of eating disorder is where individuals unintentionally and repeatedly spit up or regurgitate partially digested or undigested foods from the stomach. They re-chew it, then spit it out or re-swallow it. Since the foods have not been digested, these are said to taste normal and are not acidic. Rumination usually happens within the first 30 minutes prior to a meal.
Symptoms of rumination disorder are as follows:
- Bad breathe
- Repeated food regurgitation
- Repeated indigestion and stomachaches
- Weight loss
- Repeated chewing of foods
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
This commonly develops during infancy and during early childhood but can also persist to adulthood. This eating disorder is common among women and men. ARFID is also referred to as picky eating disorder often characterized by selective habits when eating or disturbed eating or feeding patterns. This results in energy deficiencies, nutrition deficiencies, and failure to gain weight in children.
Some of the common symptoms of ARFID are:
- Tube feeding or supplements dependence
- Poor development for height and age and weight loss
- Restriction or avoidance of food intake preventing a person from eating sufficient nutrients or calories
Aside from the ones mentioned above, other types of eating disorders are purging disorder, night eating syndrome, and Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).
Eating disorders require treatment. Failure to seeking treatment may lead to damaging effects to the body and health in general.