Eating disorders are very common, and sadly, it’s a lot more than bulimia and anorexia. The number of eating issues rises, and, sadly, many people don’t recognize it on time.
Some people think of eating disorders as a phase, a diet, or a lifestyle choice, but they are actually serious mental disorders. They affect people physically, psychologically, and socially and can have life-threatening consequences.
Almost two-thirds of people with an eating disorder suffer from anxiety. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has the strongest relationship with general eating disorders, while people with post-traumatic stress disorder are prone to bulimia.
Eating disorders include severe changes in eating habits, such as excessive and unhealthy reduction in food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body appearance and weight. Research has focused on why initially voluntarily consuming smaller amounts of food than usual at some level can spiral out of control and lead to an eating disorder.
Where do eating disorders come from?
Eating disorders are a range of conditions expressed through abnormal or disordered eating habits. They usually stem from an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape and often result in serious health consequences. In some cases, eating disorders even result in death.
What we cannot predict is the pattern of behavior. It may happen that you don’t notice anything for months, and later realize that you or someone else has an unhealthy relationship with food.
Like any addiction, this too can become harmful to health. Eating disorders lead to a number of serious health problems and can even cause death. Data shows that far more people die from anorexia than from any other psychological illness.
That is why it is really easy for them to miss the symptoms and not react in time, and not get the needed eating disorder treatment.
Symptoms of anorexia
Anorexia causes a variety of symptoms. Although they are dangerously thin, people with this disorder see themselves as excessively fat. The process of eating becomes an obsession for them. They develop unusual eating habits, such as avoiding food, being picky, and eating only small amounts of food.
People with anorexia constantly measure their weight, and apply techniques to reduce it, such as intense excessive exercise, and abuse of laxatives or diuretics. Death due to heart attack or electrolyte imbalance or suicide is even possible.
Of course, there are differences because while for some it is an episode, for others it can become a life-threatening chronic problem.
Symptoms of bulimia
People who suffer from bulimia regularly overeat and then try to get rid of the calories in an unhealthy way.
After episodes of binge eating, people with bulimia expel the food by forceful vomiting or excessive use of laxatives and diuretics. Some people burn extra calories with extreme exercise.
The difference between anorexia and bulimia is the vomiting and episodes of extreme eating. In general, the abuse of slimming drugs and laxatives exists in both categories.
How long does eating disorder recovery take?
Knowing that there is no one exact way of treating such disorders, one cannot even estimate how long the treatment would take. In general, you need to accept that you have a problem. Some people are already aware, but others need more time to accept it all.
Share the problem with a person you trust. It will certainly not be easy for you to talk about your secret, especially if you have kept it for a long time.
You will certainly receive advice to seek professional help, and you would do well to take it. We know it can be hard and you may not believe there is a solution, but you still have to trust the process.
In the first phase, you should avoid reading fashion and fitness magazines and anything that might tempt you to vomit violently again.
Eating disorders can be treated and cured. The earlier the correct diagnosis is made and the treatment is started, the better the success is achieved.
Dealing with this disease is by no means easy, so discover the best way for you to help you overcome crisis moments more easily. Listening to music, reading a good book, doing a good deed, going to the cinema, talking on the phone with your best friend, and taking a walk in nature are just some of the activities that could get you out of the troubled moment.
Improve the image you have of yourself. The vision you have for yourself should not be based solely on your outward appearance. Do not ignore the inner qualities that you possess. Learn to see yourself as a whole, to love and appreciate yourself in a positive and balanced way.
This process may take from a few weeks up to a few years. It all depends on the current situation, and how bad is it. And it would be a long and challenging process of healing and overcoming the issues.
What can you do for someone else who has an eating disorder?
This is a very complex situation that can have so many different outcomes that we have not even imagined. The approach should be soft and very careful because we do not know at what moment someone may react violently and emotionally.
Don’t forget that the burden is on the sufferer
So you shouldn’t make it harder for them. Judgment can have a devastating effect on them because they already judge themselves for many reasons. Be supportive, and offer understanding, help, and conversation when they need it. Do what you would want someone to do for you when you are struggling.
Bulimia and anorexia are the most common eating disorders. There are other conditions with different diversions, however, they all stem from a distorted image of oneself and what healthy lifestyle habits should be.
Unfortunately, sometimes these cases end fatally, but that does not mean that we should give up on the person we love. On the contrary, we should stay with them, regardless of whether the treatment will last a few months or more than a year.