Understanding Eating Disorders: Causes, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Eating DisordersEating disorders affect millions of teens and adults across the globe. In fact, it has become a social and health problem among various countries. One common notion about eating disorders is that it only affects women and girls.

The truth is, it can affect anyone from all races and backgrounds. However, because of social stigma placed upon those having these problems, a little help is offered or they do not get the help they need.

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders involve severe disturbances in eating such as engaging in rigid and strict diets, binging on food and throwing up after meals. However, most people think that these conditions are just simple. As a matter of fact, these are more complicated than just any unhealthy dietary habits. Sometimes, these disorders are rooted in deeper problems when it comes to self-critical attitudes toward food, body image, and weight.

Eating Disorder Causes

There are various factors that may lead to the development of eating disorders. These factors include genetic vulnerability, social influences, and psychological factors. There have been studies that have linked familial history and genetics to eating disorders.

Psychological factors such as the presence of some personality traits may lead to having anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, two of the most common types of eating disorders. Social and cultural influences play a role in the development of eating disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the early warning signs usually seen among people suffering from eating disorders are seen through their relationship with food. Though the condition may not develop overnight, first signs may include increased interest in cooking, food and examining nutritional labels. Moreover, other signs and symptoms may include ritual-like behaviors at mealtimes, chewing slowly or cutting the food into tiny pieces.

Further symptoms may include vomiting food, not eating at all, chewing non-food materials like paper, and extreme weight loss. The people who have eating disorders suffer from nutritional imbalances and dehydration.

Eating Disorder Treatment

Treatment options for eating disorders may include individual, group or family psychotherapy, medical care and monitoring, nutritional counseling and medications like antidepressants. Getting help for eating disorders may seem hard for some people but there are a lot of health care centers offering individualized care for patients.

Eating disorders are serious health conditions that can be both emotionally and physically damaging. Individuals with these conditions need to seek professional help. Early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment are the keys to recovery.