Types of Eating Disorders

February 22, 2010

Health & Motivation

When normal behavior and attitude in relation to food, weight and body image starts to alter, one can develop and install different types of eating disorders. These abnormalities may affect people of any race, gender, socioeconomic level or intelligence. Statistically, eating disorders are more prevalent in white populations, especially the affected women and upper middle class, aged between 13 and 30 years. Onset usually occurs during high school and affects 5-10% of the students.

There are several factors that influence the development of eating disorders. The perception that the ideal female body is slim, and the ideal male shape is muscle packed. This makes some people set unrealistic goals and make abnormal efforts to change their body structure. Actually, these people identify with their body shape and give special attention to diets, drastic weighing several times a day and information of any nature relating to weight loss. Although no one factor can be identified as being responsible for eating disorders, experts agree that most times these diseases are installed after repeated use of restrictive diets.

Over the past 10 years, the number of persons diagnosed with eating disorders has increased continuously. Information to the public by explanatory material relating to these disorders, and understanding the causes and effects, is the first step in combating these diseases.

Anorexia

It is a type of eating disorder that is manifested by an irrational fear towards gaining weight, an exaggerated desire to increasingly lose weight, and a wrong assessment of own body shape. These psychological traits lead to drastic weight loss and a constant refusal to maintain a healthy weight in relation to age and height. The life of these people is virtually led by calories, grams of fat or permanent weight control and the attempts others to help are ignored, denied or regarded with reproach.

Bulimia

It is a type of eating disorder that affects normal weight people who have bouts of compulsive eating. These people consume large amounts of food out of control in a very short period of time and then try to neutralize that forced calorie by their disposal. These behaviors include self inflicted vomiting, administration of laxatives or diuretics, starvation or excessive physical effort. People with bulimia feel like they can not stop eating and can not control what and how much they eat.

Compulsive overeating

It is a type of eating disorder that was not recognized by the medical world as a separate and distinct issue from bulimia until 1997. It is similar to bulimia in the sense that people with this disorder consume large amounts of food in an uncontrolled way, in a short period of time, but they do not tend to get rid of excess calorie ingested by the methods mentioned above and therefore, these persons are overweight. Statistically 40-50% of obese people suffer from compulsive eating.

The good news is that all these disorders can be treated as long as the person concerned, will communicate effectively and form a real team with the nutritionists and the psychologist.

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