Understanding Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating DisordersEating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, can be found in men and women of all ages. Understanding the symptoms of an eating disorder, as well as what the root causes of it might be, can help those who are living with it learn to recover. The symptoms of an eating disorder can vary greatly, just as the differences between each type of eating disorder can vary. Breaking down eating disorder symptoms can help you identify an eating problem in someone that you love.

Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa include the following:

  • Strong fear of gaining any amount of weight
  • Rapid weight-loss without medical causes
  • Distorted body image, leading to weight loss efforts despite not being overweight
  • Lying about eating, including hiding food, throwing it away, and making excuses to avoid eating
  • Abusing weight-loss medications, stimulants, and laxatives
  • Excessively working out

Bulimia and Binge Eating Symptoms

Bulimia and a binge eating disorder are very similar in nature; some of their symptoms include the following:

  • Inability to stop consuming food; eating long past feeling full
  • Eating large amounts of food in secret
  • Alternating between overeating and fasting or purging
  • Excessively working out
  • Throwing up shortly after eating in an effort to purge food eaten
  • Abusing laxatives and weight loss medications
  • Feelings of intense guilt over eating

Compulsive Overeating Symptoms

Binge eating and compulsive overeating, like bulimia, are closely linked and share many of the same symptoms. Some of the symptoms of compulsive overeating include the following:

  • Eating large amounts of food in secret, even when not hungry
  • Feelings of shame associated to eating habits
  • Depression and anxiety associated to eating and body image
  • Rapid weight gain

Those who are struggling with eating disorders often find that they withdraw from many of the social and family activities that they once enjoyed. Without professional eating disorder help, the situation is very unlikely to improve on its own.

The Dangers of Eating Disorders

Going past the damage to the emotional and mental state that a mental disorder influences, there are many physical concerns to be aware of:

  • Type 2 diabetes can develop in both those who withhold food and those who overeat.
  • Malnutrition can be caused by overeating and withholding food; this can lead to several dangerous heath concerns that include organ failure and heart attack.
  • Dehydration is very often seen with those who restrict or purge frequently; this can lead to kidney shutdown, heart failure, and brain damage.
  • Electrolyte imbalances can lead to kidney problems, heart failure and unreliable blood sugar levels.

Getting Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorder effects go beyond the individual who is struggling, as they can also affect the families, friends, or loved ones of those with these disorders. With this in mind, it is important to seek out professional help for eating disorders in order to get comprehensive treatment that will work for the long-term.

Things get a lot more complicated when an eating disorder and addiction intersect. Whether the addiction is to stimulants, weight loss pills, or another drug entirely, getting help for both the eating disorder and substance abuse problem are an important part of recovery.

Immediate Eating Disorder Help

Call our 24 hour, eating disorder helpline, today. Calls are toll-free, completely confidential, and professionally handled by our team of compassionate counselors. Getting eating disorder treatment is an essential part of regaining back control of your life and of your health. We are here to help.