Eating Disorders and Treatment
According to the American Psychological Association, there are three different classifications of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. They affect people medically and psychologically. Although eating disorders affect both sexes, 90% of those diagnosed are female. The severity of the disorders varies as well as the complications that accompany them. Eating disorders will vary in treatment procedures, each one needs to be handled with its own specialized care for the individual.
Anorexia Nervosa is when a person refuses to maintain a minimally normal and healthy body weight. People who suffer from anorexia have a distorted perception of their own body image and fear weight gain. It begins in mid to late adolescence, which is a critical age when peers begin to make a significant impact on choices.
Medically, anorexia can cause a number of conditions such as insomnia, brittle bones, and heart conditions. In addition to medical issues, anorexia often is comorbid with psychological issues. Individuals suffering from anorexia often develop depressive symptoms or moods, irritability, social withdrawal, and impulsivity. Individuals often develop obsessive compulsive features which may or may not revolve around food. Personality changes and some individuals will turn to drugs or alcohol as well as risky sexual behaviors. In addition, sufferers will also resort to self-injuring or even suicide.
The essential feature of individuals suffering from bulimia nervosa is the inappropriate compensatory methods the person uses to prevent weight gain. These methods include vomiting, laxatives, fasting, diuretics, and excessive exercising. Vomiting is the most common method with 80-90% of individuals choosing this method so much that it often becomes a goal. Vomiting is an immediate feeling, especially after binge eating. The next most common is the use of laxatives.
Like anorexia, bulimia comes with a host of medical and psychological problems as well. Personality disorders are more common with individuals diagnosed with bulimia especially Borderline Personality Disorder. In addition, because of the shame associated with eating behaviors, anxiety disorders are also very common. Bulimia usually manifests later than anorexia; late adolescence to early adulthood.
Binge Eating Disorder
When thinking of eating disorders, people commonly picture individuals as too thin. Obesity can also result from an eating disorder “binge eating”. Binge eating disorder is when an individual binges without the compensatory methods us to counteract the excessive calorie intake.
Medically, binge eating can cause many health issues that include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, joint and bone problems, just to name a few. Psychologically, symptoms are similar to bulimia. In addition, people with binge eating disorders tend to have a lower quality of life.