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Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are a group of mental disorders that interfere with normal food consumption. They may lead to serious health problems and, in the case of both bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, even death. The major recognized eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and rumination. Other mental disorders, such as clinical depression or anxiety can also disturb eating patterns, but these disorders are not considered eating disorders. In these cases, the change in eating behavior is not considered a central feature of the disorder. Symptoms of eating disorders are dependant upon the specific diagnosis

An eating disorder is a serious psychological condition. The sufferer is obsessed with food, diet and often body image to the point where their quality of life suffers, and their health is at extreme risk from their long-term poor or inadequate diet. Most victims of an eating disorder do not recognize that they have a problem and they will refuse treatment and attempt to hide their abnormal behavior from others. Treatment of eating disorders can take decades, so early identification may be the difference between life and death for the patient.

diagnosing eating disorders via the symptoms of eating disorders

The two major types of eating disorder (differentiated by the displayed symptoms of eating disorders) which will be the most familiar to many are:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder (is similar to bulimia. Large amounts of food are consumed at a sitting but retained in the stomach rather than being regurgitated.)
  • Orthorexia (the sufferer is overly obsessed with the consumption of what they see as the 'right' foods for them (vegan, raw foods, etc), to the point where their nutrition and quality of life suffers. food phobias about what they can and can't eat
  • Pica, or the habitual ingestion of in-edibles, such as dirt, wood, hair, etc.

There are many different degrees of anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia may be mild, where a person may eat but only allow themselves certain foods, or severe to the point of literally starving themselves to the point of death. There are other forms of purging besides vomiting- compulsive exercise, laxatives, and enemas being the other main ones. Other sufferers also allow themselves a small variety of foods and exercise compulsively, being categorized as eating disorder not otherwise specified. Three-fourths of patients fall into this category and their symptoms may be more severe and life threatening than those suffering from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder

Anyone can have an Eating Disorder, but it most often occurs with young teens because they are the most at risk, due to their extreme exposure to the media. Teen’s feelings of need to conform to an idea of beauty that the media projects can be too much for some to deal with and can force them to take drastic measures to change their appearance.

Posted by Staff at June 6, 2005 8:56 AM

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