This is a modern world. The modern world comes with its type of disadvantages. One such disadvantage is disordered eating patterns. An eating disorder is a sort of mental health issue. Acute eating disorders can cause physical health to deteriorate as well.
Research states that about 28 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. To avoid this disorder, we should learn about it in detail. Knowing the symptoms and types of eating disorders goes a long way. So, why wait? Let’s get going!
1. What Do You Mean by Eating Disorders?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that eating disorders are a psychological issue. This causes unhealthy food intake behaviours. Here, you suffer from a problem related to an abnormal obsession with maintaining body shape, weight gain, etc., by controlling your food consumption.
The continuity of this disordered eating may even lead to death. Studies conducted by ANAD show eating disorders as one of the most life-threatening diseases. This issue comes second to an opioid overdose. Eating disorders can occur to anyone.
These are not age-biased. Studies show that these are most common in the gender non-conforming and male populations. This is the group which avoids treatment. In the United Nations, men barely visit doctors due to eating disorders due to prevalent cultural bias.
You ought to have symptoms if you are suffering from food intake disorders. These include overexercising and purging behaviours like self-induced vomiting, skipping meals, etc.
2. How Is an Eating Disorder Caused?
Now that you know about eating disorders let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of the “how” of this issue. Eating problems do not rise out of the blue. These have got their roots. Health professionals believe that several factors lead to this issue. Four significant factors are mentioned below.
- Issues related to eating may arise due to personality traits. Precisely, perfectionism, neuroticism and impulsivity are three causes of eating disorders. PubMed Central confirms this. Twin studies and interactions based on gene-environment provide pure results relating personality to eating issues.
For example, people who suffer from perfectionism view themselves with unrealistically high standards. This makes them feel whatever they do is not good enough. The same behaviour goes for their perception of their body. No matter how fit they look, they’ll think they’ve got a distorted body image. Nutritional counselling is required in these extreme cases.
- Another reason can be genetics. Studies conducted by NAMI show that people who have someone in their family suffering from an eating disorder may develop the issue.
- Cultural preferences for a specific body standard can also promote disordered eating. The website of Eating Disorder Hope states that Japan comes first on the list of countries that face eating disorders. These countries’ primary concern is maintaining the iconic skinny body image. A severe restriction is imposed on their diet.
- Researchers have also found out that there’s Neurobiology behind eating disorders. If dysfunctioning in the neuronal processes occurs, one will likely face an affected appetite. The amount of dopamine and serotonin released may decide eating habits. Professional medical advice helps with such unhealthy bowel habits.
3. What Are the Symptoms Of Eating Disorders
Check out these symptoms if you think you are a food disorder sufferer. This may help one analyse their eating habits and seek the proper treatment.
- Unhealthy behaviours like compulsive eating disorders. This includes overthinking relating to body image and body weight. Preoccupation with excessive exercise and aversion to gaining weight are factors parallel to irregular eating behaviours.
- Missed periods are an important symptom. This shows an underlying medical problem due to unhealthy eating patterns.
- Dressing too heavily to hide weight loss.
- Having an intense fear of gaining weight and healthy eating. People who suffer this way have a binge eating disorder.
- Taking diet pills along with other weight management ways.
All these reasons are caused primarily due to body dissatisfaction. So, counselling patients becomes very important in such stages.
4. Types of Eating Disorders: 4 Highlights
Now that we know about the reasons and symptoms of food-eating disorders, we must learn about the types of eating disorders. Treating disordered eating patterns becomes easy this way.
4.1. Anorexia Nervosa: A Must-Know Eating Disorder
Anorexia nervosa is a well-known eating disorder. PubMed Central states that the condition is more evident in the female population. The issue develops in early childhood.
People with this problem face body dissatisfaction. Even if they are significantly underweight, they tend to view themselves as obese. This needs early intervention. If not, the disorder may lead to extreme mental and physical health deterioration.
Currently, body mass index for treating disordered eating patterns is unhelpful. If a person meets the “normal” weight criteria, he/she may also face the risks of this issue. This happens in the case of atypical anorexia. Here, a person has the criteria for anorexia. But is not underweight despite extreme weight loss.
Anorexia can be divided into two forms. The purging disordered eating type and restrictive eating disorder type. Both types are self-destructive. The person does not gain food nutrition due to deliberate vomiting or fasting. This eventually leads to infertility, bone weakening and brittle nails and hair.
4.1.1. Symptoms of Anorexia
People affected with Anorexia face specific symptoms. These are:
- Disordered eating behaviours such as binge eating in incredible amounts and purging food. Signs of disordered eating may also be restrictive eating.
- Extreme fear of weight gain despite being overly underweight.
- Primary focus on Body image. It is the sole factor that controls self-esteem.
- Denial of being extremely skinny. This is called having a distorted body image perception.
4.2. Bulimia Nervosa
This is yet another well-known eating disorder. People are affected by Bulimia nervosa during their adolescence. Research states it’s more common in women. In this specific eating disorder, people consume many meals during a particular period. This is a psychological disorder where a person cannot control his/her binge eating.
So, they purge the food. Everyday purging activities consist of enemas, laxatives, vomiting and extreme exercise. However, in this case, the person may have a typical weight. Usually, they do not lose significant amounts of weight, like anorexia nervosa.
4.2.1.Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
- Eating disorder symptoms include frequent binge eating.
- Abnormal purging disorder to prevent the gain of weight.
- Dependence of self-esteem solely on body size.
- Extreme fear of gaining weight, even if weight is typical.
4.3 Pica Disordered Eating
Pica disorder has become very common in the current scenario. This is pretty different from the aforementioned food disorders. This eating disorder involves the consumption of products that do not have any nutritional benefits.
So, people with this disorder desire to eat non-food substances like dirt, chalk, drywall, wool, cornstarch or cloth. This can occur in all age groups. However, the condition is more frequent in people with specific disabilities like Schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorder. This fact is verified by the health-based website of NEDA Feeding Hope.
If this condition is not checked early, it may lead to severe nutritional deficiencies, poisoning or gut injuries. If such non-edible items are consumed for an extended period, it will lead to fatal results. Such substances contain harmful content along with bacteria. In such cases, one should seek treatment as soon as possible or consult a mental health professional.
4.3.1 Symptoms of Pica-Disordered Eating
- Consumption of non-food substances may lead to abdominal cramps and pain.
- It may lead to mental disorders. Behavioural problems can occur due to the consumption of non-food items.
4.4. Binge Eating Disorder
The trusted source of PubMed Central states that this issue is one of the most widespread chronic issues prevalent among adolescents. This is a food-eating disorder category with symptoms similar to Anorexia and Bulimia.
People with this issue do not control the amount of food they binge eat. They do not use purging techniques like vomiting to throw up the food they consume. They also may not resort to exercises to make amends for overeating.
The research mentions that such people have a significant risk of complications such as stroke, heart-related diseases and type 2 diabetes.
4.4.1 Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
- Having vast amounts of food despite not being hungry.
- Having an uncontrollable urge to binge eat.
- The person with this disorder does not resort to exercises or purging methods to eliminate the consumed food. They do not care about calorie restriction. Usually, this sort of activity leads to obesity.
5. Possible Treatments for Food Eating Disorders
Now that you know about some common eating disorders, you must know about the possible treatment options for the issue. So, let’s get into it!
5.1 Medical Assistance
Food eating disorder diagnosis is an early requirement. One must visit a health specialist for treatment recommendations. The most common treatments for eating disorders are antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
These may help heal eating disorders and other prevalent issues such as anxiety. Anxiolytic medications are great for anorexic patients. Studies show that Olanzapine has been very helpful in accelerating weight in patients with severe anorexia disorders.
5.2 Family Psychotherapy
The National Institute of Mental Health states that CBT is highly recommended for treating a food-eating disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps patients to realize and point out their disordered eating patterns. CBT treatment outcomes are extraordinary. The treatment consists of the following uses:
- This allows one to learn a different approach to problem-solving.
- It helps to recognize how unhelpful ways of approaching a situation worsen the issue.
- Making perfect use of calming methods and role-play techniques. This helps one to approach challenging situations in a practical mode.
- Learning to face one’s fears and troubles.
5.3 Counseling Patients
Counselling patients goes a long way to healing disordered eating behaviours. Nutritional therapy, when combined with cognitive therapy, is highly beneficial. Here, you need to consult a dietitian to learn the techniques required to restore perfect health. The trusted website of MDPI confirms this aspect.
6. A Close-Up
Now you know the required facts about disordered eating patterns. So, you’ll have no difficulty recognising the proper treatment for yourself. The above information is provided to understand the most common disordered eating.
These are mental health issues that affect your physical well-being. So, early recognition and treatment are necessary at all costs. These can leave one shattered physically and mentally for a lifetime if untreated.
7. Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What Exactly Is Disordered Eating?
Disordered eating sits on the spectrum between normal eating and eating disorders and may include symptoms and behaviours of eating disorders but at a lower frequency or lower level of severity. Disordered eating can include restricted eating, compulsive eating, or irregular or undesired eating patterns.
Q2. What Is the Difference Between Normal and Disordered Eating?
When you are hungry, it may be normal to think about food or what you can have for the next meal. For those struggling with eating disorders, thoughts are often overwhelming; people should know about calories, taste, food to avoid or where to buy food, etc he thought about.
Q3. What Can Disordered Eating Lead To?
Most eating disorders involve a preoccupation with weight, body shape, and food. This can lead to dangerous eating behaviours. This behaviour can seriously affect your body’s ability to get the nutrition it needs. Eating disorders can damage the heart, digestive system, bones, teeth, and mouth.