Eating Disorders and Malnutrition

Eating Disorders and MalnutritionThere are numerous physical and mental health conditions that may result from eating disorders, one of which is malnutrition. The condition of malnutrition is defined as poor nutrition or the imbalance between what a person consumes and the nutrients he needs to maintain good physical health. Many people think that malnourishment can only occur when an individual is not getting enough food or nutrients in his diet, but the condition can also occur when an individual eats food that lacks the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, overweight and obese individuals can potentially be malnourished.

The human body requires a balanced healthy diet in order to get the substances it needs to function properly. Eating disorders interfere with one’s ability to maintain a healthy diet. Common eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia can be detrimental to the body. These disorders restrict the amount of food or calories an individual consumes and prevent the body from receiving the nutrients it needs to survive. Eating disorders may consist of starvation techniques, binging, purging, laxative use and taking caffeine and other drugs to boost energy. Common eating disorder behavior can be compulsive and is considered to be part of a psychological addiction. Eating disorders consist of poor eating habits, a proper lack of nutrition and overall poor health.

Potential Health Consequences of Malnutrition and Eating Disorders

Malnutrition can damage the body and impair its overall ability to function. There can be many adverse health consequences of malnutrition, including the following:

  • Decreased muscle and tissue mass
  • Physical weakness and fatigue
  • Reduced mobility and stamina
  • Respiratory problems and difficulty breathing
  • Increased risk of chest and respiratory infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Blindness
  • Intestinal damage
  • Heart problems and cardiac arrest
  • Poor immunes system, difficulty in healing wounds, infections and illness
  • Increased risk of hypothermia
  • Poor libido and fertility complications
  • Apathy and depression
  • Substance abuse and addiction

There are a number of health consequences that can result from the destructive nature of an eating disorder. While an individual may believe that he or she has the disorder under control, the adverse health effects will eventually appear. Without treatment, the physical ailments will continue to multiply and worsen until the body lacks the resources to function.

How to Treat and Recover from an Eating Disorder

An individual may develop an eating disorder due to many contributing factors. Treating an eating disorder goes beyond teaching and implementing a proper nutritional diet. Treatment will require identifying and addressing the underlying issues that may have caused or contributed to the disorder’s development. Co-occurring issues, such as anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse, should also be treated. Holistic treatment can help you heal the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain related to your eating disorder.

Find Treatment and Recovery Help for Eating Disorders

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions and talk to you about your options for treatment and recovery. Struggling with an eating disorder is a personal challenge, and we recognize the importance of connecting you with treatment programs that fit your own unique recovery needs in order to give you the safest, most comfortable and effective treatment possible. Please call now.