Understanding Most Common Eating Disorders

Every person has a different eating pattern. Some have the urge to eat less, while some have the urge to eat more. But when this eating pattern become out of control, it becomes a problem. Eating disorders are serious medical illness which is characterized by serious disturbance to an individual’s eating behavior. Not always, but many times obsession with food, body weight, and shape is a sign of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are lifestyle choices, but they are biologically influenced medical illness.

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages and it often appears during the teen year or young adulthood. The exact cause of eating disorders is not known to anyone but researchers suggest that a combination of various factors increases the risk of developing an eating disorder such as genetics, biological, psychological, and social factors. There are different types of eating disorders and the most common types of eating disorder include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

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Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa, also known as anorexia is a type of eating disorder in which an individual eats too little that he or she loses unhealthy weight loss and becomes extremely thin. Anorexia nervosa is one of the important cause of physical and psychosocial morbidity. Low body weight or low body mass index is the central feature of anorexia nervosa and most often, people having this eating disorder believe that they are overweight, even when they are underweight. It is accompanied by symptoms like fear of gaining weight, having a negative image of the body, and weakness. Anorexia nervosa is categorized into two types:

  1. Restrictive anorexia nervosa - People having this type of anorexia nervosa place restriction of the amount and the type of food they eat.

  2. Binge purge anorexia nervosa - People having this type of anorexia nervosa place restriction to the amount and type of food they eat. In addition to this, they are also involved in behavior like vomiting, use of laxatives etc..

Anorexia nervosa is associated with some complications such as reduction of bone density, dry and brittle nails, severe muscle loss, and weakness.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder which severely disrupts the eating pattern of an individual. People having bulimia nervosa eat a large amount of food at one go and then try to get rid of the food and indulge in behavior like vomiting and use of laxatives. Eating a large amount of food at one time leaves the sufferer feeling guilty and are afraid of gaining weight. Primarily there are three symptoms of bulimia nervosa:

  • Loss of control over eating behavior and eating a large amount of food.
  • Regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior such as the use of laxatives, vomiting, fasting, and extreme exercising.
  • Thinking too much about the body shape and body weight.

It is believed that girls are more likely to suffer from this type of eating disorder as compared to boys. Some other symptoms that are accompanied by bulimia nervosa include severe dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, swollen cheeks and sometimes scrapes on the knuckles. Most often, people having bulimia nervosa also have some mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Binge eating disorder

Multiple studies have stated that binge eating disorder is associated with psychological and physical suffering. It is the most common type of eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is characterized by eating a large amount of food but without any purging behavior such as vomiting or excessive exercise. When people having binge eating disorder eats, they feel out of control and eat a large amount of food at one time. Binge eating disorder is associated with a wide range of symptoms such as eating until he or she feels uncomfortably full, eating faster than normal, and feeling of embarrassment.

It is believed that binge eating disorder is associated with various psychological factors such as depression, anxiety problems, and difficulty expressing emotions, lack of control, poor body image and low self-esteem. Binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa regarding the binge eating episodes but it does not involve any purging or other compensatory behaviors. Binge eating disorder affects people of all ages and all gender, but it is often believed that girls are more likely to suffer from this type of eating disorder and most often, girls who diet are at high risk of experiencing binge eating disorder.


 

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