Although most of us relate eating disorders to food alone, they are more than just about food. Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions involving abnormal eating behaviors.
These complex psychological conditions cause inappropriate eating habits to develop in a person and negatively impact their health. They often begin with an obsession with body shape, body weight, or food.
Around thirty million men and women in the US suffer from some kind of eating disorder. Some people don’t eat sufficient food and starve themselves, while others overeat and proceed towards obesity. Some of them even vomit up food intentionally after overeating. The problem with eating disorders is that they can develop and lead to permanent damage to your health, including your mental well-being.
Eating is a complex part of human life. It can be affected by various things, such as our mental health, our genes, biological changes, and injuries or illnesses. It is also why there are several types of eating disorders that we see around. Eating disorders disrupt daily routine and, if left untreated, can have serious consequences on a person’s health. Because these eating disorders have a psychological basis, you can mostly recover from such a condition without the intervention of medical experts.
Therefore, it is necessary to recognize your symptoms and find treatment options near you. If you or someone you know shows any signs of eating disorders, you can check substancerehabilitation.com for more information and treatment options. Each treatment is prescribed, depending on the type of eating disorder an individual is suffering from. Treatments may include nutrition counseling, inpatient treatment, and mental healthcare. Moreover, in severe cases, patients may be prescribed medications and hospitalized.
Continue reading the article to learn about different types of eating disorders and how they can affect an individual’s wellbeing.
1- Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is considered the most severe of all eating disorders because it has a greater mortality rate. Individuals with anorexia nervosa severely restrict food because they usually see themselves as overweight, even when they are not. It is associated with extreme fear of becoming obese and trouble appraising body shape or weight. Individuals with this condition exercise compulsively and monitor their body weight repeatedly. Anorexia nervosa usually develops in adolescents or young adults and develops in women more than men.
Anoxera Nervosa is also linked to medical complications, such as depressed mood, social withdrawal, reduced sexual interest, low body weight, weakened cognitive functioning, hormonal imbalance, gastrointestinal problems, and delayed sleep puberty. Obsessive-compulsive features are also present. In severe cases of anorexia nervosa, individuals may even experience brain, heart, or multi-organ failure.
2- Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is another eating disorder characterized by frequent binge eating with compensatory weight control behaviors. Each binge eating cycle continues until the individual becomes full to the extent of pain. People with bulimia nervosa usually lose control while eating and feel they cannot stop it. After binge eating, they generally follow certain behaviors to limit calories, such as the use of laxatives, intense exercising, fasting, or self-induced vomiting. These binges usually occur with foods that people would normally avoid.
Bulimia nervosa develops in adolescents and young adults and tends to be more common in women than in men. Side effects of bulimia nervosa may include impaired cognitive ability, dental problems (e.g., tooth decay, gum bleeding, and enamel loss), sore throat, dehydration, swollen salivary glands, abnormal heart rate, and gastrointestinal issues (e.g., constipation, acid reflux, and loss of bowel function).
3- Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
Binge eating disorder is the most common in the United States. Unlike bulimia nervosa, BED is associated with recurrent cycles of eating food in larger quantities without following inappropriate compensatory measures. People with this disorder often eat very quickly and to the point of discomfort. BED is also associated with eating even when not hungry, losing control during binge-eating, and feeling guilty afterward. Individuals with BED binge eat secretly because of feeling ashamed in front of others. It leads to obesity, linked to various medical complications, such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
4- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Although ARFID usually develops in infants or children up to 6 years, it can continue in adulthood. It is characterized by a lack of interest in food, avoiding eating something because of its characteristics, such as smells, colors, tastes, or textures. People with this eating disorder prefer a very limited range of foods that progressively worsens with time and have fears of vomiting or choking. In children, it leads to vertical growth or stalled weight gain; individuals lose more weight in adults. People with this condition may also experience trouble at school or the workplace due to difficulties consuming food with others and taking more time to eat.
Pica is another eating disorder that involves persistently consuming non-food substances, such as dirt, chalk, paper, ice, soil, cornstarch, wool, cloth, soap, or hair. It can be because of iron deficiency anemia, pregnancy, or malnutrition. Pica can occur in adolescents and children, as well as adults. However, it is more common in pregnant women, children, and mentally impaired individuals, such as people with schizophrenia or autism. Pica may result in a maximized risk of infections, nutritional deficiencies, poisoning, and gut injuries. Depending on the type of substance consumed, pica may lead to life-threatening situations.
6- Rumination Disorder
Rumination eating disorder is a condition in which an individual regurgitates the previously consumed food, re-chews it, and then either spits it out or re-swallows it. It usually occurs thirty minutes after taking a meal. Rumination disorder can develop in infants and children, as well as adults. It is generally observed between three to twelve months of age in infants and often vanishes on its own. However, if not resolved and continues, it can lead to weight loss and malnutrition in infants.
Eating disorders refer to abnormal eating behaviors. Individuals with eating disorders either binge eat and lose control or avoid eating food. The conditions mentioned above can affect the lifestyle of an individual and, if not treated, can result in dire consequences on physical as well as mental well-being. People with these eating disorders often need the involvement of physical therapy, nutritional education, or counseling to get back on track.