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What is an Eating Disorder?

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is the consumption of food in extremes. When there is a severe disturbance in the eating behavior exemplified as either in the reduction in the intake of food or as overeating, or a disruption in the eating pattern owing to bad feelings expressed as concerns on body weight and shape.

Eating disorders are quite complex with the amount of food being consumed are lesser or more than usual, respite the failure for clarification is still not well established on the biological, behavioral and social underpinnings these illnesses.

Eating Disorder Types

There are two main types of eating disorders being anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, while the others not falling into these two categories are grouped into the third category called “eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)”. In contrast, overeating will result in binge eating disorder.

Eating disorders has been frequently encountered in people with psychiatric issues like depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorder, and circumstances that has been distressful can lead to comfort eating or binge eating. Eating disorders can lead to numerous health complications like heart conditions and kidney failure ultimately to death.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is the condition in which the individual resorts to the pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to regain and workout on a normal and healthy weight for want of desired body stature or the fear of losing them, can result in lack of menstruation in women who have eating disorders. These people tend to abuse substances like laxatives, diuretics and vomit initiators or enemas.

Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of anorexia are thinning of bones, brittle nails and skin, developing of yellowish skin that is dry, lanugo, anemia, constipation, low blood pressure and lethargy. Complications of eating disorders will result in death because of cardiac arrest, electrolyte and fluid imbalances. This can also increase suicidal tendencies.

Anorexia Treatment

The three components of anorexia treatment are restoring the healthy weight of the person, treating any psychological issues involved and reducing and eliminating behaviors and thoughts that will lead to disordered eating and preventing relapse. Medications supplied will include the use of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of unusually large amounts of food like binge eating and the feeling of lack of control over the eating. This is a resultant effect of purging, fating and excessive exercise.

Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms

The prominent symptom saying about bulimia is to hide the eating pattern and is often accompanied with feelings of disgust or anorexia. Some of the complications and associated physical conditions are purging, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth related problems.

Some of the other symptoms will include chronic inflammation, sore throat, swollen glands, tooth wear and tear, gastro esophageal reflux disorder, intestinal distress and irritation, kidney problems with diuretic abuse and severe dehydration.

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment

Mostly cognitive behavioral therapy has been successful, while prescribed medications will include the use of antidepressants like fluoxetine, as this helps in alleviating both the psychological and eating disorder problems. CBT has been the reason behind the efficacy in treating various binging and purging behavior and eating attitudes.

Binge Eating Disorder

This is characterized by over eating or eating in excess for comforts. This is because people eat even when they are not hungry and is not followed by purging, exercising in excess and fasting. This is also called comfort eating. Obesity is accompanied with psychological illnesses and will include anxiety, depression and personality disorders.

Treatment options for binge eating will include the use of antidepressants and psychotherapy with CBT on a one-on-one basis or in groups with a stimulating environment for avoiding guilt after treatment.


Posted by in Medical Questions

3 Responses to “What is an Eating Disorder?”

  1. S Anderson says:

    Would it be an eating disorder if someone who wants to lose weight only knows how to by not eating at all? This person can go days without eating and then only eats very little at a time.

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