Eating Disorders Causes and Types

eating disorder

Eating disorders are defined by abnormal eating patterns and ineffective weight-control techniques. Eating disorders are frequently linked to other psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Food is a basic need and essential for our survival. Food is not an easy or straightforward term for many people who have enough access to nutrition. People with eating disorders have abnormal eating habits, which can negatively impact their health and ability to operate.

Body dissatisfaction and weight issues are multidimensional ideas, meaning that everyone possesses them to some degree. Certain people have serious body weight difficulties and dissatisfaction, which can lead to an eating disorder diagnosis. People with eating disorders are extremely anxious and concerned about their bodies and weight.

The two most crucial aspects of being diagnosed with an eating disorder are weight concern and body dissatisfaction. Eating disorders, which can be caused by food restriction or excessive dieting, as well as an inability to control eating, are the third major component.

When people are bothered by their weight and look but continue to eat frequently, eating disorders may be less problematic. Eating disorders can become more serious when a person stops eating and literally starves herself to death. Severe eating disorders can lead to depression and emotional suffering.

Causes of Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are incredibly complicated illnesses, and experts are still trying to figure out what causes them. While eating disorders are all linked to issues with food and weight in general, experts believe that eating disorders develop when people try to control their eating to cope with intense emotions and overwhelming experiences.

However, this can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and emotional health, as well as their self-esteem and confidence in their control abilities.

The bulk of contemporary theories and researchers approach eating disorders from a multidimensional risk-based perspective. They identify several factors that put people at risk of having these diseases. The greater the number of these characteristics, the more likely a person may be diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Psychological issues (cognitive, ego, and mood disorders), biological factors, and sociocultural factors  (societal family, societal and cultural pressures) are the most common reasons for eating disorders.

As you can see, the maximum causes discussed and researched are concerned with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Binge Eating Disorder, which was recently recognized as a psychiatric disorder, is gaining popularity.

How is an Eating Disorder Diagnosed?

When someone suffering from an eating disorder is diagnosed early, they have the best chance of recovery. If an eating disorder is suspected, the doctor will likely conduct a physical examination or interview and prescribe laboratory tests. They’ll help in diagnosis and check for any health issues that could be linked to the disorder and its consequences.

Primary care physicians may examine symptoms and perform physical exams and blood testing. A psychological evaluation is performed by a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist, to better understand patients eating habits and opinions.

Clinicians use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association to make diagnoses. The DSM includes a list of symptoms for all types of eating disorders.

It is not necessary to exhibit all of the symptoms in order to receive an official eating disorder diagnosis. Even if you don’t have an eating disorder defined in the DSM, you may still need help with food-related disorders.

Major Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are examples of eating disorders caused by obsession with weight and body dimensions.

Anorexia Nervosa

Extreme thinness is one of the most visible indications of anorexia. People with this illness eat a lot, are often looking for ways to lose weight, and resent the weight gain. They have a distorted body image (i.e., they believe they are overweight). They also ignore the seriousness of the physical consequences of their poor body weight.

Anorexia has been recognized since the beginning of time as a Nervosa-related disorder. Although it is more common in teenage young women and girls, ten percent of those affected are male. One of the most alarming elements of anorexia nervosa is that many people who have it insist that they are not overweight, despite the fact that they are clearly malnourished.

While some people admit to being slim, they believe that particular parts of their bodies are overweight. The majority of people have a serious problem with their body image.

Nearly four decades ago, a researcher saw people suffering from this illness “defend their often horrifying look as not being excessively skinny. They maintain the skeleton-like appearance while denying that it is unnatural “.

Anorexia nervosa has been linked to serious medical problems. Because of the suicide rate, substance addiction, and the physiological consequences of malnutrition, the mortality rate can be at least 6 times higher than the general population.

Self-starvation can result in various medical problems, including irregular heart rates and low blood pressure. Furthermore, fasting has negative consequences on the heart since it is pushed to use muscles for energy. Other bodily changes include excessive exhaustion, dry skin, brittle hair, low body temperature, and kidney issues.

Anorexia typically includes depression, anxiety, tension, and difficulty with impulse control, as well as a loss of sexual drive and drug usage. Many persons with anorexia are unable to control their emotions, which can lead to disordered eating habits.

“I feel so strong when I don’t eat” or “I feel powerful and in control when I don’t eat” are two phrases that some individuals use to describe how they feel when they aren’t eating. Furthermore, weight loss is frequently associated with success and boosting self-esteem.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is defined by uncontrollable binge eating and attempts to avoid weight gain by improper behaviors such as self-induced vomiting and excessive exercise. Bulimia nervosa was only recently identified as a mental illness.

Russell, a British psychiatrist, invented the term in 1979, and it was included in the DSM in 1987. Bulimia is derived from the Greek words bous (“ox”) and limos (“hunger”). It’s meant to express extreme hunger to the point where the person “could eat an ox.”

Over a three-month period, binge eating and purging must occur on average once a week (rather than twice a week). After a study revealed that patients with subthreshold bulimia nervosa were strikingly similar to those with the full syndrome, the alteration was made.

Bulimia, like anorexia, can cause major physical changes and medical issues. Constant vomiting, for example, may cause the parotid and salivary glands (in the jaw region) to grow and destroy dental enamel, leaving teeth more prone to cavities and other dental difficulties, as Marya Hornbacher discovered. Patients who create deadly Ipecac syrups with the intention of triggering vomiting can have heart and muscular problems.

Furthermore, many bulimia patients use laxatives often, which can lead to irreversible loss of intestinal function if the body becomes reliant on pharmaceutical laxatives to eliminate waste and digest meals. In some cases, the defective intestinal part must be surgically removed.

Constipation, stomach bloating, exhaustion, and irregular menstrual flow are all symptoms of bulimia. Purging in any form can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in the body, which can disrupt normal brain transmission and cardiac function.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Those that suffer from bulimia nervosa are similar. People who suffer from binge eating disorders are prone to frequent binge eating events in which they lose control of their food.

However, they do not compensate by engaging in inappropriate behavior. Approximately two-thirds of people with binge eating disorders gain weight or become overweight as a result of their frequent binge eating activities.

The binges that characterize this pattern are comparable to those seen in bulimia nervosa, notably in terms of the volume of food consumed and the feeling of losing control.

Furthermore, those with binge-eating disorders, like those with bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, are preoccupied with food, weight, and appearance; base their evaluation of themselves largely on their weight and shape; misperceive their body size, and are extremely dissatisfied with their bodies; struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, and perfectionism; may abuse substances, and develop the disorder in adolescence or young adulthood.

People with binge-eating disorders, on the other hand, may want to eat less, but they aren’t as motivated to lose weight as those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Furthermore, unlike other eating disorders, binge eating disorder does not usually start with a rigorous diet. Furthermore, there are no substantial differences in the incidence of binge-eating disorders by gender.

Because binges play such a central role in both bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders, treatment choices for binge eating disorders are often comparable to those for bulimia nervosa.

Cognitive-behavioral treatments and other psychotherapies, as well as antidepressant medication, are sometimes prescribed to help with reducing or eliminating binge eating habits, as well as shifting disordered thought patterns such as being overly concerned about weight and body shape.

It is becoming increasingly clear that these interventions can be useful, at least in the short run. In fact, many people who suffer from binge eating disorders also have weight problems, which necessitate extra interventions and are sometimes difficult to treat in the long run.

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