Eating Disorders - An Overview Of The Types And Causes

By: lynter
There are several different types of eating disorders. The most common being Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge eating. With Anorexia Nervosa the person starves themselves allowing their body weight to get to 85% or less than what it should be for their height and age.

A person with Bulimia is trapped in a downward spiral. They diet to a point where they feel so hungry that they have to eat, so they binge and then purge all of the food out because they feel guilty for eating. They go back on their diet and promise they will never do it again but when they break their promise the guilt means that they repeat the cycle.

Binging is where the person eats large quantities of food frequently and on more than one occasion. When a person binge eats they feel out of control and feel as if they cannot stop eating all the while feeling guilty about what they are doing. Those that suffer from this eating disorder have a tendency to be obese and depressed.

A number of factors can trigger an eating disorder. It can be anything from psychological to genetic. Genetic factors actually account for more than half of the causes for developing Anorexia. Interestingly, a person who's mother or sister suffered from Anorexia Nervosa are twelve times more likely to develop the eating disorder than someone with no family history.

With the same situation a person is four times more likely to develop Bulimia. Everything from family to friends to one's culture plays a role in the development of an eating disorder. Most people who develop this type of illness have a tendency to be perfectionists and have a lack of a sense of identity. These factors along with other personality traits can make one more susceptible.

Eating disorders can affect both sexes. For every four women who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa there is one man who suffers from it as well. Likewise one male to every eight to eleven females suffer from Bulimia.

When it comes to binge eating it is nearly an equal ratio of male to female victims of the disorder. Granted, the number of men reporting symptoms of eating disorders is on the rise but this can be attributed to a number of factors. This could be because there is a greater awareness of the possibility that they can suffer from it or because they are in activities that have a strict weight requirement. These men might be involved in a profession or sport that have a strict weight requirement like Law Enforcement, horse racing and wrestling. Interestingly, many men who develop eating disorders were overweight as a child.

Eating disorders are serious illnesses that can kill. The friend or loved one requires professional mental and physical help. What they are going through is not a fad that will pass away with time. As a loved one you can be there for them without judgment or condemnation being a gentle positive influence on how they perceive themselves.

Summary:

There are several different types of eating disorders. The most common being Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge eating. Risk factors can be a mix of both psychological and genetic factors. Both genders are susceptible to this disease.
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