Eating Disorders

Eating disorders arise from eating disturbances. Their characteristics include irregular eating habits, distress and body weight and shape concerns. Even though their causes are unclear, biological and environmental factors appear to play a significant role in their emergence.

The most common types include the following. Anorexia nervosa makes persons eat very little food. Its signs and symptoms are eating restriction, life-threatening thinness and a deep fear of gaining weight. Other symptoms include mild anemia, brittle hair, severe constipation, low blood pressure and infertility. Bulimia Nervosa causes people to eat a lot with no control over such episodes, followed by depression, self-induced vomiting, purging (with laxatives), fasting or over-exercising.  Typical symptoms are chronic inflammation, swollen salivary glands, sore throat, and tooth decay. They also suffer intestinal distress and irritation, and imbalanced body electrolytes. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Its signs and symptoms include consuming large quantities within a short time, eating when not hungry, fast and until one is uncomfortably full, alone or in secret. People who suffer from BED quickly get distressed, ashamed and they diet, and show no weight loss.


Statistics indicate that about 30 million people across the ages and genders suffer from the disorder in the U.S.  Worldwide about 70 million are affected. Eating disorders are the highest cause of mortality among the mentally ill people. They affect all races and ethnic groups. Their risk factors are genetics, environmental factors, and personality traits. They manifest differently from one person to another because they are not all about the food itself, but about feelings. People interact with food differently, and this affects how the disorder manifest. They are significant concerns for people because those affected may also experience mental or physical health issues at the same time.

Though an eating disorder may have once helped a person cope with life circumstances, it often leads to emotional pain and suffering. Therapy focuses on addressing the concerns of the affected and restoring their health and well-being. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, can help people to examine their unhelpful thinking patterns so that they can change their incorrect beliefs. The general reservations people have when seeking to treat is the outcomes and how others will perceive them. Therapy choice is dependent on the severity of the disorder and the individual problems.