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Eating Disorders

 

What is an eating disorder?

An Eating Disorder is a serious disturbance in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight.

 

What causes an Eating Disorder?

 

Eating Disorders are caused by many factors:

 

Individual factors

  • Self-esteem issues

  • Social anxiety

  • Depression

  • Feelings of lack of control


Family factors

  • Poor communication and support within the family

  • Lack of emotional bonding and dealing with feelings within the family

  • Family values that magnify the importance of appearance

  • Sexual or physical

  • Lack of a focus on the importance of family life

  • Dysfunctional body image and dieting behavior of parents

 

Interpersonal factors

  • Difficulty expressing feelings

  • Troubled personal or family relationships

  • Being teased because of weight or shape


Precipitating factors

  • Loss of a family member or friend; moving to a new home school, or job; or a major personal disappointment

  • Accumulation of stress without adequate coping strategies, which may intensify the impact of other factors

  • Weight loss, or extreme or frequent dieting

 

Symptoms of an eating disorder

 

Emotional and psychological warning signs

  • Preoccupation with body appearance or weight

  • Moodiness, irritability

  • Reduced concentration, memory, and thinking ability

  • Anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts

  • Guilt or self-dislike


Behavioral warning signs

  • Making excuses not to eat and dieting

  • Overeating

  • Drinking only out of a certain cup or eating foods on certain days obsessively

  • Change in clothing style

  • Hoarding food

  • Trips to the bathroom after meals


Social warning signs

  • Social withdrawal or isolation

  • Avoiding social situations involving food

  • Decreased interest in hobbies


Physical warning signs

  • Weight loss or rapid fluctuation in weight

  • Changes in hair, skin, and nails; dehydration

  • Edema (retention of body fluid)

  • Reduced metabolic rate (can lead to slow heart rate, low blood pressure, reduced energy level)

  • Faintness, dizziness, or fatigue

  • Bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, or cramps

  • Sore throat, indigestion, and heartburn

  • Easy bruising

 

Treatment

Eeating disorders require early treatment to be successful. Because eating disorders are both emotional and physical problems, a range of professionals is important for recovery. A therapist can help with the underlying emotional issues, and a nutritionist or doctor can help with choosing nutritious foods to maintain a normal weight. A doctor also treats any medical complications of an eating disorder.

 


 

Additional Information

 

Body Image Every Body is Different How to Help

 

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