Eating Disorder are the negative eating patterns that affect our Physical as well as Mental health. They are not something that we do normally, they are unusual , serious and abnormal patterns related to our Eating habits.
Here are some types of Eating Disorders –
People suffering from this disorder tend to have a very lower body weight compared to the normal body weight a person of their age and height must possess. They are still in the fear of gaining weight which appears to be extremely strange for the people around them. They might exercise intensively, limit their food, follow diets to reduce weight or vomit after eating due to the constant fear of gaining weight. This condition is abnormal and dangerous as it may lead to Starvation and ultimately death of an individual.
Binge Eating Disorder
Unlike the previous type, here people tend to eat a lot to a point where they are full and uncomfortable. They continue eating even when they are full and not even hungry. After the eating process, they feel guilt, shame or extremely negative about themselves and the thing that they’ve done. This pattern repeats again though. People with this disorder seem to have no control over their eating. They often do this hiding from other people around. They usually have more body weight or even normal body weight too. This can lead to Obesity.
Here, people are binge eaters but after eating they tend to throw up or exercise extensively. They tend to follow unhealthy dieting methods in order to compensate the calories gained from the binging. This condition is serious too as it greatly affects our health if we tend to make our body move on both the extremes.
This is a habit of eating non – food items like dirt, sand, chalk etc. In children below 4-5 years of age, this habit is normal but this is not something okay in an adult.
Individuals suffering from this disorder tend to bring their food back into the mouth from the stomach and re chew it and swallow or sometimes spit out. This is sometimes done without their observation. This can be serious when our body is unable to get all the nutrients it needs as they tend to spit out a lot.
HOW DO THESE DISORDERS ORIGINATE?
There are several Genetic, Environmental, Psychological and Cultural factors playing a role behind these disorders. For instance, in some cultures a slim woman is considered healthy and beautiful thus pushing girls to follow them.
Today, with the growing influence of social media over people “the perfect body” is something everyone seeks to achieve. Those Instagram models with unrealistic bodies achieved after a ton of surgeries is seen as a goal to be aimed for. Past experiences and childhood traumas can cause a person to be affected by this disorder too.
Like, a child experiencing bullying related to his or her weight can be affected. People participating in sports or any profession where in the body size matters a lot are also likely to develop these disorders.
Basically, Extreme obsession of anything is abnormal whether it is to loose weight or even gain muscles. Stress is also a major contributor. Changes in life (like moving at a different place, pregnancy, relationship issues) can bring about a lot of stress making people more prone to eating disorders.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ?
- Restricting the food intake a lot.
- Huge weight loss.
- Weight loss or lack of weight gain specially during puberty.
- A very low BMI.
- Saying things like being fat even if they’re not.
- Wearing layers of clothing to hide weight loss.
- Frequent Gastric problems
- Missing out on the periods.
- Skipping meals or only eating small portions.
- Disappearing to the bathroom after meals.
- Frequent use of mouthwash, gum or breath mints.
- Signs of purging such as laxative or diuretic packages or empty wrappers.
- Evidence of bingeing like hoarding food.
- Stained, discolored or shortened teeth.
- Bloated appearance from fluid retention.
- Eating even when feeling full.
- Eating quickly during bingeing episodes.
- Loss of control when eating.
- Avoiding eating around others.
- Hoarding food and hiding empty food containers.
- Dieting frequently but not losing weight.
- Feelings of depression, anxiety and shame after eating.
- Extreme food pickiness.
- Excessive food limits, such as avoiding foods with a specific taste, color or smell.
- Only eating a single type of food.
- Difficulty digesting food.
- Abnormally slow eating and small portions.
- Failure to gain weight in children.
- Social isolation due to challenges with eating i
- Adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet
- Excessive focus on healthy eating
- Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
- Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
- Excessive exercise
- Leaving during meals to use the toilet
- Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
Recovery from an eating disorder is very much possible. A wholesome approach is what is needed in this process. Right from inculcating new eating habits to learning to love our body for however it is all are the aspects of recovery. Seeking professional help is very much needed here.
The therapist may use-
- Family based therapy (FBT) – here, the entire family is trained to monitor the child’s behavior and help him/her to recover and build new habits.
- Behavioral Therapy – This technique focuses on gradually changing the behavior patterns of the person,
- Cognitive Therapy – This is an approach where the person is trained to change his/her internal mind frameworks, perceptions and make changes internally which will automatically reflect a change outwards.
There are many more methods involved.
IS THERE ANY WAY TO PREVENT THIS CONDITION ?
YES! There are ways!
- Good positive body talk is very essential in a family that a child needs to hear while growing up. Telling them that fitness is different than the size of body and it comes in all the sizes.
- Teaching children in Schools as well as Home to respect every body size and telling them that there are all kinds of people on this planet and each one of them deserves love and health is different than the looks. This will be helpful in reducing bullying.
- Media needs to change too. Although, recently we can see media going towards inculcating people of all shapes and sizes but more change has to be made.
- Educating people about how food we eat is essential for us and our healthy life.
- Talking to people showing these symptoms.
Let’s start from us and the next time we meet a person suffering from any body insecurity, let’s be Kind towards them and respect them in every possible way!