Know the different types of eating disorders
Eating disorders are a common topic these days, as many people, particularly young women, struggle with self-esteem and body image issues. But eating disorders are also about control, so many people coping with stress or grief use their eating habits as a way to gain power over the chaos they perceive in their lives.
There are plenty of free eating disorder information resources out there, such as various anorexia articles that can help you answer the question "Am I anorexic?" and support forums that can give you advice on treating an eating disorder, but the best thing you can do if you suspect you or someone you love has an eating disorder is to talk to a doctor immediately.
Eating Disorder Symptoms
Because there are many different types of eating disorders, there are also many different symptoms. Below are some of the most common eating disorders:
- Anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is a condition in which sufferers starve themselves, exercise to extreme and use enemas or diuretics in an effort to lose weight and achieve what they perceive to be the ideal body.
- Bulimia. Sufferers of bulimia will often binge on food, then force themselves to throw up so as not to gain weight. Like anorexics, bulimics will also use fasting, enemas, compulsive exercise and laxatives to attempt to lower their weight.
- Binge eating. Binge eating is a condition in which people lose control of their ability to stop eating and consume excessive amounts of food. They may do this out of feelings of depression, guilt or embarrassment and attempt to assuage their feelings through food.
Symptoms of these three conditions are often very similar. Generally, they include secretive behavior, sudden weight loss (or weight gain in the case of binge eating), depression and compulsive behavior.
Eating Disorder Treatment
Since eating disorders are largely psychological, therapy is an important part of treatment. Therapists can help eating disorder sufferers learn to identify the causes of their condition and work on establishing a healthy body image and good self-esteem. A doctor and a nutritionist should also be part of the treatment plan to help monitor a patient's health and ensure they're getting proper nutrition.
In severe cases of eating disorders, patients may need to go to a treatment facility. The change in environment can often help an eating disorder sufferer break away from the triggers in their life and prepare them with solid foundations for success when they return to their normal environment.