Just about everyone worries about their weight sometimes. However people with eating disorders take what are normally mild concerns to the extreme. Eating disorders are abnormal eating habits which are associated with compulsive and obsessive behaviours. Often compared to addiction, eating disorders are really very dangerous and can even be fatal.
There are four main types of eating disorder. These are:
Anorexia nervosa is a mental health problem. Someone suffering from anorexia will severely reduce their food intake, trying to consume as few calories as possible. An anorexic will have a distorted view of their own body image, often regarding themselves as fact even when they are just skin and bone.
Bulimia is an eating disorder based on bingeing and purging. The bulimic will often binge eat large quantities of food and either make themselves sick or use laxatives to try and purge the body of food. By purging the bulimic will try to negate the calories they have consumed.
Binge eating is like bulimia, but without the purging element. The binge eater will eat often as much is 10 times as the recommended daily amount of calories needed in one sitting. As the do nothing to counter the effects of such an excessive calorie consumption, they are at risk from weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
Pica is most prevalent in women and children. Pica is an eating disorder where a strong craving for non-food substances occurs. Most commonly dirt, sand and chalk are eaten part it is certainly not limited to that and depending on the sufferer, almost anything can be eaten. Depending on the substance damage to the stomach lining can occur amongst a whole host of other problems.
Treating eating disorders
Treating eating disorders successfully lies in effective counselling or therapy. There are different types of treatment available and what works for one person may not work for another. Eating disorders are commonly linked with mental health issues and identifying and addressing these is essential to enable a successful recovery.
Self-help programs carried out under medical supervision can be of great benefit to someone suffering from an eating disorder. Support will be required from other members of the family, especially with younger sufferers to help overcome an eating disorder. Developing a healthy attitude to food and more realistic body image is key. It is thought that eating disorders cannot actually be cured, as they are a progressive illness. The good news is that eating disorders can be treated and managed. There is no reason why someone suffering from an eating disorder cannot go on to live a healthy life in the future, but constant attention may have to be paid to eating habits to prevent relapsing.
It is very important to get help with an eating disorder as soon as possible. If you are someone you know is suffering from issues with food then help should be sought immediately. Eating disorders can cause both long and short term health problems and in some cases can even be fatal.