Types of Eating Disorders
Each year, more and more women suffer from various eating disorders. This is especially true in the age of social media. Society portrays an image of what a beautiful person should be. Although this image isn’t true (remember that!), young women often strive to fit it by engaging in an eating disorder.
What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are a group of conditions in which the sufferer is obsessed with their body image. Eating disorders can be life-threatening, as well as cause severe physical problems. Eating disorders predominately affect women, though men can also suffer from them. There are a number of reasons for eating disorders, including: genetics, stress, mental illness, and societal pressure.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is the act of restricting food based on an irrational fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image. This leads to extreme weight loss, typically among adolescent females between thirteen and seventeen years old.
What are the Signs of Anorexia?
-Pretending to eat
-Lying about eating
-Obsession with reading food labels
-Obsession with measuring food portions
-Secretive food rituals (chewing and spitting out food)
-Dramatic weight loss
-Feeling overweight while at a healthy weight
-Constantly weighing oneself
-Fainting from dehydration
-Wearing over sized clothing
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What is Bulimia?
Bulimia is compulsive binge eating, followed by vomiting to avoid gaining weight. It’s also know as binging and purging. The individual suffering from bulimia usually has a very strict diet, as well as an unhealthy obsession with food. They’ll usually starve themselves, finally eat, and promptly vomit.
What are the Signs of Bulimia?
-Lying about eating
-Eating large amounts of food
-Spending long periods in the bathroom after eating
-Switching from overeating to not eating at all
-Using laxatives or diet pills
-A persistent smell of vomit
What is Binge Eating?
Binge eating is compulsively overeating, or eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time. Binge eaters often eat when not hungry and continue for long amounts of time. Those suffering want to stop, but feel unable to control their intake of food. The comfort of binge eating lasts for a short time, followed by regret, self-pity, and depression.
What are the Signs of Binge Eating?
-An inability to stop eating
-Consuming extremely large amounts of food
-Eating when full
-Eating often throughout the day
-Feelings of embarrassment, guilt, disgust, and depression afterwards
What is Overeating?
Overeating is similar to binge eating, but takes place over a longer period of time. So, overeating is eating large amounts of food for weeks, months, or years. Over eaters constantly eat in order to relieve emotions like stress, anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem. Most over eaters are overweight or obese. Unlike bulimics, over eaters don’t vomit voluntarily after eating.
What are signs of overeating?
-Involuntarily vomiting after eating
-Irregular menstrual cycles
-Irritable unless eating
-Hiding or lying about eating
-Excessive weight gain
-Obsessive thoughts of food
-Eating when not hungry
-Pain as a result of eating
What are the Dangers of Eating Disorders?
Dangers of eating disorder include malnutrition, organ failure, depression, tooth decay, heart problems, suicidal thoughts, and even death.
Many individuals are unaware they have an eating disorder. This is due in part to denial, but also because eating disorders are often easier to spot from outside. The suffering individual has a distorted body image. Often, even though they’re dangerously skinny, they still view themselves as overweight.
Binge eaters and overeaters typically use food to help fill a void and are unaware of their actions.
What’s the Link Between Eating Disorders and Addiction?
About half of those with eating disorders are also addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many use stimulant drugs (crack, cocaine, meth, Adderall, Ritalin) to help loss weight. Also common is using over-the-counter drugs like diet pills and laxatives
Diet pills are anti-obesity and weight loss drugs. They reduce, or eliminate, an individual’s appetite and help to control their weight. These pills burn calories in an unhealthy way. Common side effects include: high blood pressure, insomnia, increased heart rate, restlessness, and irritability.
Laxatives are meant to unclog bowel movements. When using laxatives without food in the body, the abuser starts to lose bodily fluid. After abusing laxatives to lose weight, the user quickly gains it back. Severe health issues can occur as a result of laxative use. These include: extreme dehydration, organ damage, seizures, and even death. Less severe side effects include: constipation, bloating, mood swings, diarrhea, and painful cramping.