According to Eating Disorder Statistics, It has been estimated that up to 70 million people in the world suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders are illnesses in which a person goes through severe disturbances in their eating behaviours, related thoughts and emotions. According to multiple studies done by Eating Disorder Psychologists there is no common breeding ground in which eating disorders arise from. Several factors can cause the birth of an eating disorder which may include stress, psychological factors, culture etc. Eating disorders are of many types and eating disorder psychologists have categorised them into the Big 3 which are given below:
- Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is a common eating disorder affecting upwards of 70 million people worldwide. It is a psychological and life-threatening eating disorder. People suffering from this disorder generally have an extremely low body weight in relation to their height and body. They have a general fear of gaining weight and think of themselves to be much healthier and heavier than they actually are. They often undertake self starvation which results in rapid and unhealthy weight loss. Some physical signs of Anorexia nervosa include fatigue, erratic menstrual pattern and extreme weight loss. Emotionally they have an extreme fear of gaining weight, suffer from depression and anxiety and often deny food to themselves. They also eat very small amounts of food, even though they are extremely underweight. They tend to be socially awkward and avoid human interaction.
- Bulimia Nervosa.
Bulimia nervosa is another serious eating disorder which is marked by bingeing which is then followed by purging. Bingeing is the act of consuming large amounts of food in one go without any form of self-control whereas purging is the act of inducing vomiting to get rid of the consumed food items by using laxatives or any other diuretic substance. Some physical signs of Bulimia Nervosa are Scars or calluses on the back of their hands, acid reflux, stained and eroded teeth, electrolyte imbalances and irregularities in the blood. People with this disorder tend to have low self-esteem, self-guilt, anxiety and depression. Their Eating habit is marked by eating a large quantity of food, which is then systematically followed by purging. They exhibit poor self-image and are extremely concerned with their physical appearance. They tend to have average body weight, however, there are also cases of underweight and overweight sufferers. Socially, they still have relationships with others, however, given the opportunity they tend to withdraw themselves.
- Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder also called (BED) is also known as compulsive overeating wherein, the person with this disorder eats large quantities of food, which is usually accompanied by the feeling of the loss of control. People suffering from this disorder physically gain a lot of weight. They have low self-esteem, suffer from anxiety and have a feeling of a loss of control. They often eat large amounts of food in a very short span of time, engage in secretive eating and also take part in binge eating activities. They have body image issues and show feelings of disgust to their own body. Most of them are often overweight and they are also socially isolated and are very defensive of themselves and try to avoid any manner of confrontations at all costs. Read more about how to deal with binge eating disorders.
- Other Disordered Eating.
Other than the above-mentioned disorders there are other types of eating disorders which are not specified. They might include any other issues revolving around food, which may include starving oneself, aversion from different kinds of food, losing and gaining weight etc. They may not get as much attention as the above ones; however, they are equally lethal in nature and can affect anyone irrespective of age, sex or race.
In spite of a huge number of people suffering from eating disorders research suggests that majority of eating disorders go away untreated. Leaving such disorders untreated points to having serious consequences, which may even include death as data suggests. Eating disorders spell disaster for the body and cause damage to various organs and cause several other disorders. Eating disorders not only affect the physical element, however, it also causes mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. It is thus, quite clear that people with eating disorders suffer higher rates of mental disorders. Hence, Psychologists too play a vital role in the treatment of eating disorders among people. They perform psychotherapy on their patients and work in parallel with physicians in a multi-disciplinary approach. It is thus advised to all persons suffering from eating disorders do not shy away from their shortcomings but bring them forth and let them be addressed by qualified persons in order to cure them of their disorders and improve their way of life.