The modern age brings with it a fascination with a healthy diet and lifestyle as well as the aesthetic ideal of beauty and youth. Accordingly, there is an increasing form of controlled, reduced intake of food that refers only to healthy food called orthorexia. Eating habits can be in the form of excessive food intake (hyperphagia) or eating small amounts of food (hypophagia).
Moreover, diet varies from person to person, culture, religion, ideology, economic opportunities, etc. Changes in nutrition often occur during life cycles, such as changes in school, changes in puberty, school obligations, leaving home, work, pregnancy and breastfeeding, old age, and much more. When not in a normal stage, such changes can cause different eating disorders.
Causes of eating disorders
Any long-term eating disorder leads to damage to physical vigor over time, such as fatigue, eating, and digestive disorders. People also face decreased immunity that increases the susceptibility to recurrent infections and diseases, anemia, vitamin, and metabolic disorders.
A stress-related eating disorder can be mild or moderate, short-lived, transient, related to “normal”, human crises that cause psychological stress that can usually be resolved, and the body then soon returns to balance. If the right solutions to psychological tension and conflict are not achieved, they are used to relieve tension and obtain the necessary pleasure otherwise. This includes the replacement in the form of travel, shopping, eating, drinking, and directing to other pleasures to relieve stress and substitute for enjoyment. You can check eating disorder essay examples to find more symptoms that can cause eating-related issues and effects. Sometimes people develop OSFED symptoms and they will learn about this type of issue.
If stress is strong, it often cannot be successfully resolved by the available adaptive and combative abilities available. Therefore, it is transferred to the body which is used as a discharge channel or in the function of sacrifice. To resolve psychological suffering, certain psychosomatic disorders are developed, within which eating disorders also occur. The most severe eating disorders that require diagnosis and mandatory treatments are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Anorexia is a very specific and severe eating disorder. Most often, it affects young girls between 10 and 20 years old obsessed with the idea of being thin. The eating disorder is characterized by a strict limit of food intake, including limiting the intake of fatty, sweet foods and meat. Anorexic persons are losing bodyweight, and constantly checking it. The feeding disorder means not only starvation but also exhausting intellectual work, physical exercise, intentional induction of vomiting, purging behaviors, use of laxatives, and diuretics.
Anorexic girls have a changed idea that they are overweight, even though they have a thin body because they are afraid of weight gain. This problem cannot be solved, as it is complicated by anxiety, guilt, intense fear, bulimic crises, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide attempts. Other behaviors are weak social and especially love conditions. Anorexic persons have problems in the development of relationships with emotionally important people, especially parents. The family is burdened too.
Anorexia is often preceded by obesity or an excessive diet. Sometimes the reason for the change in attitude towards food is provoked by teasing and ridicule from peers. Also, in 50% of cases, anorexic persons are victims of sexual abuse. The issue may also be preceded by problems at school and the deprivation of emotionally important people. Physical well-being is very deteriorating due to extreme weight loss (more than 15%, up to 50%), reduction of the menstrual cycle, dehydration, hypotension, hypothermia, cachexia, anemia, diabetes, heart disease, impaired memory, purging behaviors, and others. Patients usually deny the problem, have no insight into its episodes, and refuse to diagnose and treat it.
This is a common binge eating disorder in adolescence and young adulthood, which is three times more common in females. It refers to an unbridled desire and needs to take a large amount, especially high-calorie foods and sweets, several times a day, often with severe acute pain.
At least 2 crises occur in one week and last for at least three months until the disorder is diagnosed. The binge eating urge occurs suddenly, almost without warning, although they are often preceded by anxiety and agitation. In such a crisis, the urge cannot be controlled, and they must eat as fast as possible, in large amounts, and very undesirable high-calorie foods and sweets. To prevent bulimia at an early age, it is possible to get apps for reducing childhood obesity and monitor progress via a smart device.
After the binge eating crisis, there is a short-term rest or a milder feeling of satisfaction and sometimes guilt because of that. Then there is a strong feeling of guilt and fear of taking food in the future. Due to all the above, after binge eating, there is an attempt to compensate for the elimination of food intake by provoking vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, strenuous physical exercise.
An enriching sense of shame is developing more and more, which leads binge eating people to hide, withdraw from social life, cancel outings, and rush home to eat in solitude. People often resorted to self-medication with alcohol and drug abuse episodes, which further intensified the vicious circle of intake and its consequences. Usually, over time, serious depression, as well as suicide attempts, can develop, which patients also try to cover up. Physical health is also damaged in large amounts by the esophagus and stomach, teeth, and metabolic problems. Binge eating therapy is obviously necessary and must be multidisciplinary.
Possibilities of treatment and medication
The treatments usually combine a full team approach that includes medical experts with different skills. The task may include a “conversation therapy” that talks out someone with an eating disorder to avoid negative habits and thoughts healthier. A common form used here is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), where patients learn to recognize such habits.
Also, medical experts can develop an optimal eating plan where the patient’s individual feeding and weight needs are concerned. If this doesn’t help people control anxiety, urges, purging, binge eating, or unhealthy thoughts, medications can be introduced. Sometimes persons rapidly struggling with an eating disorder should take antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
When things about weight problems get serious, medical experts may recommend hospitalization. There are some other programs for binge eating that include treatments in a specialized clinic. Finally, it is possible to get some complementary or alternative treatments. Yoga, massage, meditation, and acupuncture are common alternative medicine therapies that can help people relax and reduce stress.
There is no safe way to prevent an eating disorder, but one can reduce the risk by learning about the signs and symptoms. It is also recommended to avoid fast diets and unhealthy weight loss behaviors. From an emotional perspective, people at risk should avoid negative conversations about themselves. Finally, they need to find help if the behavior becomes problematic.