What is an Eating Disorder?

a woman eating a burger | What is an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are more than only eating disorders, despite the label. They're complicated mental health issues that frequently necessitate medical and psychological intervention to change their trajectory. 

What exactly are eating disorders? 

Eating disorders are a group of psychological illnesses that lead to the development of poor eating habits, and sugar cravings. If not treated or left as it is, eating disorders can have a lot of severe issues or can also lead to death in some cases. 

The majority of individuals have a purging attitude (like over-exercising and vomiting), binge eating habits, and severe restrictions on their diet. By the age of 20, up to 13% of teenagers may have had at least one eating issue. 

Causes & risk factors  - What makes them happen? 

According to experts, eating disorders are thought to be triggered by a multitude of circumstances. Genetics is one of them. According to this type of research, if one twin has an eating disorder, the other has a 50 per cent chance of acquiring one as well. Another factor is personality qualities. Neuroticism, perfectionism, and impulsivity are three personality qualities that are frequently associated with an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. 

In fact, in societies that have not been exposed to Western standards of thinness, many eating disorders appear to be almost non-existent. 

  1. Anorexia nervosa 

The most well-known eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. It has more effect on women as compared to males and usually occurs in early adulthood or youth. Even if individuals are not overweight or are heavily underweight and have this issue of anorexia, they think that they are overweight. They start avoiding specific foods, keeping a tight watch on their weight, and limiting their intake of calories.

Common anorexia nervosa symptoms include: 

  • despite being underweight, compared to people of similar age and height
  • very restricted eating patterns 
  • intense fear of gaining weight or persistent behaviours to avoid sudden weight gain, despite being underweight. One can reduce weight by taking weight loss max
  • a skewed body image, including denial of being very underweight a strong influence of body weight or perceived body form on self-esteem 

Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder are also common. Many persons with anorexia, for example, are consumed with frequent food ideas, and some may compulsively gather recipes or hoard food. 

Anorexia can be extremely harmful to one's health. Individuals with it may have bone weakening, infertility, brittle hair and nails, and the formation of fine hair covering all over their bodies over time. Anorexia can lead to heart, brain, or multi-organ failure and death in severe situations. 

  1. Bulimia nervosa 

Another well-known eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. Just like anorexia, Bulimia is more common in males as compared to females and usually occurs between the age of adolescence and pre-adulthood stage. Bulimia patients commonly consume unusually high amounts of food in a short period of time. 

Each binge eating disorder usually lasts until the person is completely satisfied. When this binge occurs, the individual has that feeling of not being able to regulate their food intake or is not able to stop eating. 

Common bulimia nervosa symptoms include: 

  • binge eating disorder that leaves you feeling out of control 
  • recurring instances of indiscriminate purging to avoid sudden weight gain
  1. Pica 

Pica can affect both adults and children and teenagers. But this problem is more common in the ones with mental illnesses, pregnant women, and youngsters.

  1. Excessive ruminating 

Another recently identified eating condition is ruminative disorder. It's a condition in which a person regurgitates previously chewed and swallowed food, re-chews it, and then either re-swallows or spits it out. This ruminating usually happens within the first 30 minutes of eating. 

This condition can manifest itself in infancy, childhood, or adulthood. The illness frequently requires therapy for both children and adults. 

Rumination dysfunction in babies can lead to weight loss and severe malnutrition, which can be fatal. This could cause them to lose weight and become underweight as a result. 

  1. Food intake restriction/avoidance disorder

A new nomenclature for an old disorder is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). The phrase "feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood" has been replaced with "feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood," a diagnostic previously reserved for children under the age of seven. 

Although ARFID usually occurs during childhood or adolescence, it can last until maturity. Moreover, it has equal effects on both women and men. Disturbed eating is a symptom of this disease, and it can be caused by a lack of appetite or a dislike for certain odours, tastes, colours, textures, or temperatures. 

ARFID symptoms include the following: 

  • eating habits that interfere with basic social functions, such as eating with others
  • weight loss or poor growth for age and height 
  • nutrient deficits or reliance on supplements or tube feeding 

Take Away

The sections above are intended to help people understand and refute myths regarding the most common eating disorders. These disorders are usual mental illnesses which need cure or treatment. If not treated on time, they can harm one’s body. If anyone has this eating disorder, approach your doctor and take proper treatment for this.