Eating Disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.
Eating disturbances may include inadequate or excessive food intake which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males.
Eating disorders can develop during any stage in life but typically appear during the teen years or young adulthood. Classified as a medical illness, appropriate treatment can be highly effectual for many of the specific types of eating disorders.
Although these conditions are treatable, the symptoms and consequences can be detrimental and deadly if not addressed. Eating disorders commonly coexist with other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or depression.
The four most common types of Eating Disorders are as follows:
Previously known as selective eating disorder (SED), is a type of eating disorder, as well as feeding disorder, where the consumption of certain foods is limited based on the food's appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with the food.
The male or female suffering from anorexia nervosa will typically have an obsessive fear of gaining weight, refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an unrealistic perception of body image. Many people with anorexia nervosa will fiercely limit the quantity of food they consume and view themselves as overweight, even when they are clearly underweight. Anorexia can have damaging health effects, such as brain damage, multi-organ failure, bone loss, heart difficulties, and infertility. The risk of death is highest in individuals with this disease.
This eating disorder is characterized by repeated binge eating followed by behaviors that compensate for the overeating, such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme use of laxatives or diuretics. Men and women who suffer from Bulimia may fear weight gain and feel severely unhappy with their body size and shape. The binge-eating and purging cycle is typically done in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control. Bulimia can have injuring effects, such as gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration, and heart difficulties resulting from an electrolyte imbalance.
Individuals who suffer from Binge Eating Disorder will frequently lose control over his or her eating. Different from bulimia nervosa however, episodes of binge-eating are not followed by compensatory behaviors, such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise. Because of this, many people suffering from BED may be obese and at an increased risk of developing other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Men and women who struggle with this disorder may also experience intense feelings of guilt, distress, and embarrassment related to their binge-eating, which could influence the further progression of the eating disorder.
Eating Disorders are complex disorders, influenced by a facet of factors. Though the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, it is generally believed that a combination of biological, psychological, and/or environmental abnormalities contribute to the development of these illnesses.
A man or woman suffering from an eating disorder may reveal several signs and symptoms, some which are:
Treatment plans are utilized in addressing the many concerns an individual may be facing in the restoration of their health and well-being and are often tailored to meet individual needs. Treatment for an eating disorder is usually comprised of one or more of the following and addressed with medical doctors, nutritionists, and psychiatrists for complete care:
Varying levels of treatment, ranging from outpatient support groups to inpatient treatment centers, are available and based on the severity of the eating disorder. In any case, recognizing and addressing the eating disorder are crucial in being able to begin treatment. Dr. Kerryn Armstrong is uniquely experienced to assist you and your loved ones through this process and support you on your path to physical health and wellness.