Eating Disorders

The individual struggling with an eating disorder is usually obsessed with food, diet and often body image to the point where their quality of life suffers, and their health is at extreme risk from their long-term poor or inadequate diet. Most sufferers of an eating disorder do not recognise that they have a problem and they will refuse treatment and attempt to hide their behaviour from others. Eating disorders affect both males and females and can cause serious physical problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening.

Anorexia

Anorexia is characterised by a refusal to maintain healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of gaining weight, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. The struggle with Anorexia can also include excessive exercising, flat mood or lack of emotion, preoccupation with food, social withdrawal, and thin appearance.

Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, increases constipation and abdominal pain, often leads to bone loss and the loss of skin integrity. It greatly stresses the heart, creating irregular rhythms, low blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems.

Bulimia

Bulimia is characterised by recurrent binge eating (eating to the point of discomfort or pain, often with high-fat or sweet foods) followed by compensatory behaviours such as purging (self-induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise). Bulimics may also fast for a certain amount of time following a binge. Bulimics are usually normal in weight or a bit overweight.

The struggle with Bulimia involves an unhealthy focus on body shape and weight, having a distorted, excessively negative body image, going to the bathroom after eating or during meals, and feeling a loss of control over eating behaviour.

Bulimia is often accompanied by abnormal bowel functioning, damaged teeth and gums, swollen salivary glands in the cheeks, sores in the throat and mouth, dehydration, irregular heartbeat, sores, scars or calluses on the knuckles or hands, menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea) and drug or alcohol abuse.

Emotional & Binge Eating

Emotional eaters eat a lot when they have bad emotions and even when they have good feelings. They feel that they have lost touch with hunger and can’t stop eating when they have had enough. They have a love-hate relationship with food. Emotional eating is not a disorder, However, when we have an excessive EE, it could be related to Binge eating.

BED is characterised by regularly eating excessive amounts of food (binging), eating when not hungry & continuing eating even long after being uncomfortably full. After a binge, individuals may try to diet or eat normal meals, triggering a new round of bingeing. Individuals with binge eating disorders may be of normal weight, overweight or may even be obese.

During a binge, one is likely to eat much more and faster in comparison to a normal meal or snack. One may also feel that the eating behaviour is out of control, frequently eating alone and feeling depressed, disgusted or upset over the amount eaten.

Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition in which a person turns to be very anxious about a physical defect. Often, they’re imagining the defect, or it’s so minor that others can’t see it. These feelings consume the person’s thoughts, affecting their social activities and job.

The symptoms of poor body image in terms of behaviour include all the eating disorders, self-abuse, cutting, avoiding certain situations, over-exercising, and much more. Poor body image may lead to depression and anxiety, causing additional injury to self-esteem.

Night Eating Syndrome (NES)

NES is an eating disorder that occurs along with interrupted sleep (insomnia). NES causes people to wake up during the night to eat, usually several times throughout the night. Untreated, NES makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. It also increases the risk of health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.