Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eating Disorders - Awareness and Prevention

It is common to see a person go on a strict diet, in order to lose weight. However, there is a fine line between following a strict diet and suffering from an eating disorder. Several people are not even aware that such a thing exists, which prompts them to ask “What are eating disorders?”, in spite of the fact that eating disorders affect about 2% of the student population in the United States. An eating disorder goes beyond a strict diet for weight loss or following unhealthy eating habits. It could be described as a complex condition, which is normally caused by a number of factors that are psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, social and emotional. Various types of eating disorders are related to abnormal dietary habits, such as the eating too little or too much food, to an extent which could be harmful to a person’s health. It has been seen that people who suffer from eating disorders use food to control their emotions and feelings. Such people believe that they are in control of their lives, through activities like purging, dieting or binging, all of which are examples of eating disorders. Some of the most common types of eating disorders that have been identified are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.  
 
eating disorders
image:freedigitalphotos.net
People, who avoid eating normal amounts of food, or eat the bare minimal amount and then obsess over how much they ate for hours, are said to suffer from anorexia nervosa. One of the main causes of anorexia is the obsession of being thin. It has been seen that people who suffer from anorexia have a distorted view about their bodies, because of which they cannot maintain a normal weight. However, weight is not the only reason for anorexia in all cases. This condition has also been observed in people who have been through childhood abuse, trauma, a breakup and other such disturbing experiences. Bulimia nervosa is usually very hard to spot, because people who are bulimic probably go on an eating binge, (mainly in front of other people), but force themselves to throw up a little later. At times, bulimic people may also use a high amount of laxatives or may exercise excessively. Peer pressure, weight obsession, low self esteem, anxiety and depression are the main causes for bulimia in a person. Binge eating is probably the most common eating disorder in the United States, which affects about 2% of the male and 3.5% of the female population. It refers to an eating disorder, where a person consumes a large amount of food, even if it is not required by the body, mainly because the person cannot control the urge to eat.


Treating an eating disorder is possible, but it requires a lot of time, determination and patience. It is important to seek professional and family help to overcome the different types of eating disorders.