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  • What
  • How does it start
  • Types
  • Recognizing the signs

What is Eating Disorder?

Eating disorder is regarded as obsessions with food and weight. Often this condition is very serious, as the victim always focus on what they should eat, how much they weight, and how they appear. For instance, a person who is a victim of eating disorder may eat less food or no food at all. Victim also spends a lot of time in front of the mirror to check on how they look. A person being victim of another type of eating disorder includes overeating.

Victims with eating disorder usually have other illnesses. These illnesses are called co-morbidites, or diseases which are associated with eating disorder. Victim with eating disorder will often have anxiety disorder as well as substance abuse

How Do Eating Disorders Start?

Generally a person becomes a victim of eating disorder during teenage or adulthood. However, becoming a victim of eating disorder can happen irrespective of any age at any point of life. This implies that children and elderly people are prone to the risk of eating disorder.

Eating disorder equally affects both men and women. However it is most commonly found among women and young girls. Men with the disorder are usually undiagnosed as it is often mistaken as a female-only condition.

What are the Types of Eating Disorders?

Anorexia nervosa

A person who is victim of anorexia nervosa is generally obsessed over eating food and weight control. Victims usually have an absurd fear about gaining weight. Several victims consider themselves as overweight or obese, even though the victims are evidently shown that they are malnourished and underweight.

It is very common among a victim to weigh themselves several times during a day. Due to fear of gaining weight, victim also obsessively cut down their food habits when they eat. Anorexia nerosa is one the least common eating disorders among the three, however most deadly type.

Side effects or health problems which anorexia nervosa includes:

  • Anaemia
  • Constipation
  • Dry, yellow-tinted skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low pulse and breathing
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Lack of menstruation (period) among females
  • Lanugo, or fine hair growth that covers the body
  • Lower internal body temperature

Anorexia nervosa when left untreated may cause severe complications to the victim, which includes but not limited not:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Brain damage
  • Heart damage
  • Organ failure
  • Death (as victims are 18 times more prone to die)

Bulimia nervosa

A person who is victim of bulimia nervosa generally eats a lot of food at a time, that too privately. This is often referred as binge eating. A person who is a victim of bulimia nervosa usually experience that their eating behaviour are out of control. To balance their excessive eating, victim undergoes excessive exercise, fasting or self-induced vomiting. Victim may also undergo enema, laxatives, or diuretics.

When compared with the victims of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa victims usually appear to be healthy and of average weight. However the victim still fears of gaining uncontrolled weight and often is unsatisfied about how they look. The ultimate goal of the victim becomes an obsession.

Approximately one percent of the U.S. population will have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. The average age of onset for the illness is 20 years old.

The physical side effects of bulimia nervosa include:

  • Acid reflux disorder
  • Constantly sore or inflamed throat
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Dehydration from purging fluids and vomiting
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Intestinal irritation from laxative abuse
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Sensitive teeth due to stomach acid exposure
  • Worn or decaying tooth enamel

Binge-eating disorder

A person being a victim of binge-eating disorder have no control over their eat habits. Victim consumes excessive amount of food often to point where it causes discomfort for the victim. Victim may consume food even when they are not hungry and will continue eating when they are full. When compared with victims of bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder victims never engage in behaviours such as excessive exercise, fasting or purging.

Often the victims of binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese. Owing to it, the victim is always at the risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Due to the illness, victims also experience several psychological issues, thus leading to deal binge-eating disorder with a shame. This escorts the victim to more binge eating.

Another category of eating disorder includes Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). It includes any eating disorder which in neither anorexia nor bulimia nervosa. Binge eating is a type of Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified.

Recognizing the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Types of eating disorder may be marked with similar behaviours; however the physical signs as well as symptoms shall vary with respect to the type and severity of the disorder.

What are the Signs of Anorexia Nervosa?

A person who is a victim of anorexia nervosa has an insane obsession over food and to become skinny. If the victim isn’t brought under a professional help, the condition can reach to a starvation point. When continued, it can lead to failure of organs and gradually to death.

General behaviours which are associated with anorexia nervosa include:

  • Extreme fear of weight gain
  • Deformed body shape
  • Ruthless quest to be thin, even when the victim has good health and normal weight
  • Undergoing intense exercise patterns
  • Eat less or eating no food
  • Hunger denial
  • Public fear of eating
  • Being worried over food

What are the Signs of Bulimia Nervosa?

A person who is a victim of bulimia nervosa appears to have normal body weight. However victim may also have slightly high body weight.

A victim of bulimia nervosa may show signs and symptoms such as:

  • Going to toilet, while having or shortly after having meals
  • Hands and knuckles with sores or calluses
  • Sensitive teeth due to the exposure of stomach acid
  • Worn or decaying tooth enamel