All About Eating Disorders
The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, more commonly known as anorexia, bulimia nervosa, more commonly known as bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Though these eating disorders manifest themselves in different ways, the underlying theme is the same in that sufferers can not separate their emotions from their eating habits and this skews the way, and the amount, that they eat. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, do not delay in finding help. Eating disorders can have lifelong repercussions, but with treatment these effects can be greatly limited.
AnorexiaAnorexia is an eating disorder in which the sufferer becomes so afraid of gaining weight that (s)he starts to decrease the amount of food (s)he will eat until (s)he literally starves. Even when they are physically wasting away, anorexics will perceive themselves as heavy and continue eating as little as possible. Without enough nourishment to sustain them, the anorexic's internal organs will begin to fail and if this persists, death can and will occur.
BulimiaIn contrast to anorexics who carefully control the amount of food they eat, bulimics often consume far too much food in one sitting and then get rid of it either by making themselves sick or taking laxatives. This binging and purging becomes a cycle, and bulimics may never lose, or gain, enough weight to make it obvious that they have an eating disorder. Though they do consume enough calories to keep their bodies healthy, the constant purging can damage their digestive tract, mouth, teeth and salivary glands. The yo-yoing of their diet can also mean that bulimics rarely take in enough vitamins and minerals to remain healthy.
Binge Eating DisorderMuch like bulimics, those suffering from binge eating disorders will consume large amounts of food at one sitting. Unlike bulimics, they do not purge or rid themselves of this food. Instead, those with binge eating disorders often become obese from their excessive food intake, and can suffer from side effects such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
The Causes of Eating DisordersIn all honesty, know one really knows what causes some people to suffer from eating disorders. Those who do suffer often share similar characteristics, such as perfectionism and over-achievement. Some scientists also believe that there are hereditary or genetic causes of eating disorders. Most who suffer from eating disorders also try to tightly control all aspects of their lives and when this fails, they focus their energy on controlling their eating patterns and the amounts that they eat instead.
Treating Eating DisordersThe good news is that all eating disorders are treatable, and many former sufferers go on to lead lives that involve more normal relationships with food. However before someone suffering from an eating disorder can get better, they must confront why they eat the way they do. This is most successful when it occurs during part of a counselling or support group session.
Eating Disorder support groups and advocacy organisations are great sources for further information.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, it can be very hard to admit that help is needed. Those suffering from eating disorders are usually highly secretive of their habits and often don't want to change them because their disordered eating is how they cope with the pressures of their lives. Yet even if they do not want help, those suffering from eating disorders need it in order to live truly healthy lives. Remember that even if they do not thank you for it now, helping anorexics, bulimics and those with binge eating disorders find professional help will garner you thanks in the future.