An eating disorder is more than just food. It’s instead a complicated mental health condition requiring medical interventions from psychological and health experts. In severe cases, it can result in serious health complications. Therefore, it is essential to understand what the difficulty entails to ensure that you can make an informed decision.
Why You Might Have an Eating Disorder
Mental health experts at Genesis New Beginning can help you understand the ‘why’ in behavioral health in Huntington Beach, CA. They believe that eating disorders can be caused by several factors, including:
- Personality traits
- Perceived pressure to lose weight
- Brain structure and biology
However, more studies are needed to make firm conclusions on the cause of the problem.
Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and pica are the main eating disorder types.
Anorexia nervosa is a condition where you view yourself as overweight, even when you are dangerously underweight. As a result you severely reduce your food intake. This is more common to teens and young adults, and females are more affected than males. Also, the disorder can be accompanied by an obsessive-compulsive disorder that dictates your eating and exercise habits.
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging the food. It affects young women more than other groups. The purging can be done through vomiting, strenuous exercise, or laxatives.
Binge eating can be related to bulimia only that there is no purging. Binge eaters will eat in secret until they become overly full and display a lack of control over food.
Pica is a condition where you can be compelled to eat non-food substances potentially harmful to your health. You may have a compulsion to eat soap, paper, hair, and dirt, among other unhealthy items.
Signs of an Eating Disorder
Several behavioral signs can indicate an eating disorder. Some common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
- Very restricted eating patterns
- Being considerably underweight compared with people of similar age and height
- A relentless pursuit of thinness
- Intense fear of gaining weight
Bulimia nervosa can be identified through the following symptoms:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating and purging behaviors
- Self-esteem problems
- Fear of gaining weight despite being average or under-weight
Binge eating disorder can be characterized by:
- Eating large amounts of food rapidly
- Experiencing disgust, shame, or guilt when thinking about binge eating behavior
- Feeling a lack of control of binge eating behavior
- Lack of purging behaviors to compensate for the binging
Some physical factors can help you identify an eating disorder and include hair loss, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, weakness, dental problems, and excessive weight fluctuations.
How to Deal With Eating Disorder
If you realize or suspect that you have an eating disorder, the best thing to do is to seek expert care from specialists. At Genesis New Beginning, a treatment plan can be designed according to your specific needs and may include:
- Nutrition evaluation
- Group therapy
- Case management
- Talk therapy
- Continuing assessment
It is so unfortunate that most people with an eating disorder do not think that they need treatment. However, the condition can cause various complications such as depression and anxiety, serious health problems, growth and development difficulties, substance use disorder, and social issues. If left untreated, it can cause death in severe cases.
Don’t hesitate to seek help from eating disorder specialists when you identify or suspect the problem’s existence in your loved one. You can also seek expert advice to learn more about the condition.