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All You Need to Know About These 4 Common Eating Disorders

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
December 17th, 2021
8 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Eating disorders are more common in women than in men
  • Eating disorders’ causes can be linked to repressed traumas
  • Eating disorders’ symptoms vary according to the type of condition

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions marked by frequent disturbances in eating behavior. They can be linked to repressed traumas and other mental health concerns. People with these symptoms may often need the help of psychological experts. Between the year 2000 to 2018, the number of people diagnosed with eating disorders have increased. The percentage has gone up to 7.8 from 3.4%. [1] This steep rise has made them a common mental illness.

Eating disorders have much more to them than an obsession with certain foods. Our concerns about body weight and body shape may also be the cause. Thus, knowing an eating disorders’ psychology is vital to get to the root of the disease. To know the types, causes, and treatment of eating disorders, read on.

Additional read: 7 Important Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

Eating disorders

Eating Disorder Types

Binge Eating Disorder

This typically develops during early adulthood and adolescence. If you have this disorder, you may have a tendency to eat a large quantity of food in a short time. In spite of knowing the harm it may cause, you may find it hard to control this habit. People with binge eating disorder are usually overweight or obese. This increases your risks of medical complications.

Bulimia Nervosa

In this type, you might alternate between periods of binge eating or fasting. The binge episodes may continue until the time you become extremely full. This usually happens because of the feeling that you cannot stop or control what you are eating. After the binge-eating, you may have the urge to rid yourself of the calories you ate. For this purposes, you may

  • Throw up
  • Use laxatives
  • Use enemas
  • Exercise excessively
  • Fast for a long time

People with this disorder usually are of the average or normal weight. In some cases they may be underweight or overweight.

Eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

This usually affects women more than men. People with anorexia nervosa feel that they are overweight despite being underweight. If you have this disorder, you may have an obsession of checking your weight frequently and avoiding foods with high calories. In some cases, people with anorexia also experience OCD. In such cases, you may also hoard food without eating.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Earlier known as ‘Selective Eating Disorder’ [2], ARFID may developed during your childhood and continue or become more advanced during adulthood. It is similar to anorexia and bulimia in the sense that people may restrict what they eat. The key difference is that in ARFID, you may not eat certain foods because of distaste and not because of distress about your appearance. This disease is also equally seen in both women and men.

Some other eating disorders include

  • Night eating syndrome
  • Pica
  • Rumination disorder

Eating disorders’ causes are mainly categorized into 3 types which are [3]:

Biological

Biological factors come into play when you have a close relative with a mental illness or an eating disorder. Type 1 diabetes and a history of dieting can also be a cause for eating disorders.

Social

Stigmas around weight and appearance are some of the social factors causing an eating disorder. Bullying and historical trauma also fall under this category.

Psychological

Psychological factors include how you view yourself, the compulsion to be perfect as per common stereotypes, or history of anxiety disorder.

Additional read: 6 Most Common Types of Mental Illness Symptoms to Watch Out For

Eating disorders

Eating disorders’ symptoms vary depending on the type. Some of the common symptoms are

  • Frequent eating
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Eating small portions or skipping meals
  • Feeling uncomfortable about eating with people

Eating Disorders’ Treatment Options

Psychotherapy

By undergoing therapy, you can identify the source of your negativity and come out of it with the help of cognitive behavioral approach. Therapy also helps you change your thought patterns and build coping skills to help you make healthier decisions. You can opt for group therapy or individual therapy. As per your convenience, go for an in-person or online psychiatrist consultation.

Nutrition Counselling

With this, nutritionists guide you to eat in a healthy way and maintain a normal weight.

Medicines

Antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers are some medicines that help you treat eating disorders. They also support you in dealing with anxiety and depression, which are linked to eating disorders.

Medical Care and Monitoring

This is done when there are complications caused by different eating disorders.

Neurologist Consultation

Research has found that along with behavioral factors, some regions of the brain also cause eating disorders [4]. Since neurologists are experts in treating such conditions, you may get effective guidance from them for a better health. Having an in-person or online neurologist consultation may help you beat or better manage the condition.

Eating disorders can be life threatening. However, with proper treatment and consultation, you can manage them efficiently. Keep an eye on the symptoms and consult a doctor if you have signs. Between an in person or online doctor consultation, you can choose the option that is most comfortable for you. For ease of access, book an appointment with experts on Bajaj Finserv Health, and take a step towards effective healing.

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