Let me just start with saying that eating disorders are not that different from normal dieting! It is a matter of when they become so obsessed over losing weight that it becomes a health and emotional problem. Therefore it is not possible to know if you have an eating disorder until it is too late because the drastic weight loss will not be noticed even by your friends until much later on. You will always start with “it would be nice to have a slim figure” and will end up saying “i am too fat. Why am I always fat. I have to stop eating.” if you are not careful. The sooner an eating disorder is treated, the easier it is for the person to recover.
There are three types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
Eating disorders are psychological disorders that involve extreme disturbances in eating behavior. A teen with anorexia refuses to stay at a normal body weight. Someone with bulimia has repeated episodes of binge eating followed by compulsive behaviors such as vomiting or the use of laxatives to rid the body of food. Binge eating is characterized by uncontrolled overeating
Anorexia is an eating disorder where a person does not eat properly or if not anything. This is a lot serious than normal dieting as dieting means that the person will restrict the number of calories they consume. Someone becomes anorexic starting with being in a diet and they become obsessed in having a slim body. They will take part in excessive dieting and exercise, sometimes to the point of starvation. People with anorexia feel they can never be thin enough and continue to see themselves as “fat” despite extreme weight loss.People with anorexia have a distorted body image, thinking they are overweight when in fact they are underweight. They may count calories obsessively and only allow themselves tiny portions of certain specific foods.
Bulimia nervosa. The condition is marked by cycles of extreme overeating, known as bingeing, followed by purging or other behaviors to compensate for the overeating. It is also associated with feelings of loss of control about eating. Bulimia often starts in the late teens and early adulthood. People with bulimia go through cycles of eating enormous amounts of foods followed by purging by vomiting, using laxatives, or diuretics or hours of aerobic exercise. Some warning signs of bulimia include: extreme preoccupation about being overweight, strict dieting followed by high-calorie eating binges, overeating when distressed and feeling out of control.
Rather than simply eating too much all the time, people with binge eating disorder have frequent episodes where they binge on large quantities of food. Like people with bulimia, they often feel out of control during these episodes and later feel guilt and shame about it. The behavior becomes a vicious cycle, because the more distressed they feel about bingeing, the more they seem to do it. Because people with binge eating disorder do not purge, fast, or exercise after they binge, they are usually overweight or obese.
Unlike other eating disorders, binge eating disorder is almost as common in men as it is in women. According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, the average age at onset for binge eating disorder is 25, and it is more common in people under age 60.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder is the first step toward getting help for it. Eating disorders are treatable, and with the right treatment and support, most people with an eating disorder can learn healthy eating habits and get their lives back on track. Therefore my dear readers please seek help from your friends, parents or anyone you feel comfortable with if you think you have some of these symptoms and don’t let yourself fall into the trap of eating disorders.