Anytime you hear that someone has an eating disorder, you may be quick to associate it with just-food. However, having an eating disorder is more than just food, it is more compound. It requires experts to change this condition which has physical, psychological and social effects.
People with eating disorders tend to have food, body weight and body share obsession. In extreme cases, adverse health consequences are inevitable and worse still death.
What is an eating disorder?
The simplest definition of an eating disorder is a wide range of psychological conditions associated with abnormal eating habits as a result of distressing thoughts and emotions. In general, you tend to have an unhealthy relationship with food.
People with eating disorders end up with an obsession with food, body weight and body shape. In as much as eating disorders can affect anyone those affected are mostly young women and some adolescents.
There are also a number of types of eating that you need to be aware of;
- Fuel eating – consuming food with the intention of supporting your body
- Fun eating – consumption meant for food you love that may not add nutritional value such as cakes, chips etc.
- Fog eating – this a type of eating without awareness or purpose
- Storm eating – a type of food consumption that is out of control
Types of eating disorders
Anorexia nervosa is the first type of eating disorder that comes as a result of weight loss due to a lot of exercising and dieting. Those with this condition even end up starving themselves to the point of extreme weight loss.
In general, this condition affects more young people in adolescents and also women in comparison to men.
Symptoms of anorexia nervosa
- Fear of gaining weight despite being underweight
- Strict eating habits
- Being underweight in comparison to peers of the same age and height
- Lack of willingness to maintain a healthy weight
- Attaching body shape to self-esteem
- Denial of being seriously underweight
- Difficulty eating in public and exhibiting a strong desire to control their environment, limiting their ability to be spontaneous.
Types of Anorexia
There are two main types of anoxeria;
- Restricting type
- Binge eating is also known as the purging type
Restricting type anoxeria
This is a type associated with a habit of skipping meals and being restricted to certain food types and being choosy on the type of food to eat. In most cases, the behaviour is accompanied by exercising in a very excessive way.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder is also known as the purging type. It is one of the most common eating disorders which has a characteristic of overeating. Most people with this condition tend to be overweight and obese.
Signs of binge eating disorder
- Consuming large amounts of food
- Feeling of depression
- Consuming meals until you are uncomfortably full
- Feeling ashamed after your eating
This is another common type of eating disorder that can be life-threatening. This disorder has some characteristics of binge eating and with it, the victims misuse laxatives, self-induce vomiting, fast etc
Signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa
- Pre occupation with the shape and weight of the body
- Avoiding certain types of foods
- Self-esteem is directly influenced by body shape and weight
- Lack of control of binge eating
- Extreme fear of gaining weight
- Inflammation and sore throat
- Forcing yourself to vomit
- Eating large portions of food in a short period of time
Treatment and prevention of bulimia nervosa
Treating bulimia nervosa will require you to visit Eating Disorder and Treatment Centre where your doctor will consider your needs. You may either receive medication or hospitalization.
You can also go through therapy and also self-treatment measures such as looking after your body, trying as much as you can to avoid your triggers and reaching out to friends and family to help you.
Pica eating disorder
Pica eating disorder involves consuming things that are not generally considered food items such as soil, clay, soap, dirt, clothes etc.
This condition can occur in children, pregnant women, and people with mental instability among others. Those who ingest these items run into the risk
Types of pica
- Eating soil
- Ice eating
- Eating starch
Causes of pica
There are various causes of pica disorder; they include malnutrition, mental issues, disability and stress.
How to stop pica disorder
The best way to stop pica is simply by observing healthy habits and supervising children to prevent them from eating any type of pica.
In extreme circumstances, surgery is recommended to remove any materials inside the body as a result of unhealthy eating habits.
This is a fairly new disorder. It is a condition where a person unintentionally and inconsistent manner spits up partially digested food from the stomach, re chews it then spits out or swallows it again.
Rumination disorder is treatable through relearning and observing good eating habits.
Effects of rumination disorder
There are a number of effects of rumination disorder, they include;
- Extreme loss of weight
Tips to stop rumination disorder
- Look for distractions to avoid re-chewing food
- Try meditation
- Look out for therapy from a professional
- Avoid stress by letting go of disturbing thoughts
- Prevent worry by writing down your thoughts
Avoidant intake disorder
This eating disorder is also known as restrictive intake disorder. This condition begins in childhood and can persist throughout life affecting both men and women.
The main characteristic of this disorder is showing no interest in certain foods as a result of how they smell, how they look, their temperature and their colours.
Common symptoms of avoidant intake disorder
- Avoiding food intake
- Loss of weight
- Depending on supplements
- Not eating meals with families and friends
- Lack of appetite for no reason
How to help someone with an eating disorder
Do you have a relative, a colleague or a friend struggling with an eating disorder? You can help them by;
- Showing your concern and making mealtime fun and exciting
- Help them reach out to an eating disorder treatment centre for further assistance.
- Promoting their self-esteem
- Being the right example in terms of eating habits
You can get more help by seeking a disorder treatment centre if natural remedies do not work for you. Do not shy away from seeking assistance for having an eating disorder.