If you are obsessed over food, body weight and shape, there might be a chance of having Eating Disorder. People often think that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. But they are actually serious and often fatal mental illness and are an important cause of physical and psychosocial morbidity in an individual. According to various studies on eating disorders, the results found that the frequency of occurrence is much less in men as compared to adolescent girls and young adult women and a large proportion of eating disorder patients were exercising excessively during an acute phase of the disorder.
Types of Eating Disorders
They are divided into three diagnostic categories: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-eating disorder.
- Anorexia Nervosa, characterized by inadequate intake of food. In this condition, people may have unrealistic perception of overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight and thus, they severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. It can lead to damaging health effects, such as loss of bones and skin integrity, increases the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems, brain damage, multi-organ failure, and infertility. The mortality rate is highest in this disease as compared to other mental disorders, either due to complications associated with starvation or the patient commits suicide.
- Bulimia Nervosa, characterized by an excessive intake of food followed by compensatory behaviors for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Although people usually maintain their relatively normal and healthy weight, but the irregular food behaviors can have injuring effects, such as chronically inflamed and sore throat, severe gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration, and various heart difficulties resulting from an electrolyte imbalance.
- Atypical eating disorders: There are many other types of eating disorders including Binge-eating Disorder (lack of control on eating), other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), Diabulimia, etc.
Cause of Eating Disorder
Although the cause of eating disorders is not clear but it seems like combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors plays an important role in the development of these illnesses.
- A high proportion of individuals diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder (way the person sees themselves) also had some type of eating disorder.
- Biological conditions such as hormone irregularities and nutrition deficiencies can also lead to eating disorders.
- The environmental factors include Dysfunctional family dynamic, aesthetically oriented sports, Professions and careers, childhood traumas and other stressful transitions.
Treatment for an Eating Disorder
People often ignore such conditions which then results in severe adverse effects. Because of severity and complexities of these conditions, it has become necessary to establish a comprehensive and professional treatment. Addressed with medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists for complete care, the treatment includes:
- Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
- Medical care and monitoring
- Nutritional counselling