Introduction to Eating Disorders

By: Juliet Cohen

Eating disorders are often described as an outward expression of internal emotional pain and confusion. Eating disorders afflict millions of people, thousands of which will die from them yearly. There is good news though, eating disorders can be beaten. An eating disorder involves a distorted pattern of thinking about food and size/weight: there is a preoccupation and obsession with food, as well as an issue of control or lack of control around food and its consumption. Eating is controlled by many factors, including appetite, food availability, family, peer, and cultural practices, and attempts at voluntary control. Dieting to a body weight leaner than needed for health is highly promoted by current fashion trends, sales campaigns for special foods, and in some activities and professions. Eating disorders involve serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight.

These are also the three most common eating disorders. Eating disorders can cause heart and kidney problems and even death.Eating disorders frequently co-occur with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third type, binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior; rather, they are real, treatable medical illnesses in which certain maladaptive patterns of eating take on a life of their own. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but some reports indicate their onset can occur during childhood or later in adulthood. In addition, people who suffer from eating disorders can experience a wide range of physical health complications, including serious heart conditions and kidney failure which may lead to death.

Eating Disorders are about being convinced that your whole self-esteem is hinged on. Eating Disorders are about attempting to control your life and emotions through food/lack of food. A person with anorexia nervosa typically starves himself or herself to be thin and experiences excessive weight loss, typically 15% below the weight that doctors consider ideal for his or her height and age. A child with anorexia or bulimia may experience dehydration as well as other medical complications. Anorexia may affect a child's growth, bone mass, cause puberty delays, an irregular heartbeat and blood pressure problems, and gastrointestinal problems. Treatment of anorexia calls for a specific program that involves three main phases: (1) restoring weight lost to severe dieting and purging; (2) treating psychological disturbances such as distortion of body image, low self-esteem, and interpersonal conflicts; and (3) achieving long-term remission and rehabilitation, or full recovery.

Eating Disorders Treatment Tips

1. Treatment can include medical supervision, nutritional counseling, and therapy.

2. Supportive group therapy may follow, and self-help groups within communities may provide ongoing support.

3. Behavioral therapy has proven effective in achieving this goal.

4. Psychotherapy has proven effective in helping to prevent the eating disorder from recurring and in addressing issues that led to the disorder.

5. Family members or other trusted individuals can be helpful in ensuring.

6. Certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown to be helpful for weight maintenance.

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