Eating disorders are often associated with teenagers and adolescents. But many adults struggle with this same issue.
What are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are mental health issues that involve unhealthy or obsessive eating habits. Some of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.
Anyone can develop an eating disorder at any point in their life, though a disproportionate number of those diagnosed are young females. Researchers have found there are often biological factors involved in developing an eating disorder, as well as social and interpersonal pressures. Many men and women develop eating disorders as a response to culturally mediated body image concerns.
Eating Disorders and Physical Health
If not treated, eating disorders can and do often lead to poor physical health. Here are just some of the physical symptoms that commonly occur in people with eating disorders:
- Drastic changes in weight (either increase or decrease)
- Hair loss
- Dizzy spells and fainting
- Feeling cold
- Stained or discolored teeth (from purging)
- GI upsets like stomach aches and cramping
- Nutritional deficiencies
It’s important to mention that while these symptoms are common, not everyone will present with them. Eating disorders and their physical and emotional effects will look different for each individual.
Eating disorders can be very stressful for the person and their loved ones. In some cases, they can even be life-threatening.
There are a few different treatment options for those suffering from an eating disorder:
Speaking with a Trained Therapist
A therapist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help a patient uncover the emotional reasons beneath the affliction and help them to adapt their behavior.
Medications may be needed to help treat any anxiety and depression that often coexists with an eating disorder.
Work with a Nutritionist
It is often advised that people with eating disorders work with a nutritionist to relearn proper eating habits and the importance of getting the right amount of nutrients each day.
If you or someone you love is living with an eating disorder, it is important that you get some help. With the right treatment plan, life can become healthy once again.