In a world where obesity abounds, but where society praises the skinny figures of Hollywood, eating disorders are more common than you might think. Sometimes very severe, eating disorders can cause stress, psychological damage, and even death in both women and men. It’s important to keep in mind the characteristics of these common eating disorders, so you are able to recognize these symptoms in yourself or in friends; help is the only cure. These disorders generally begin with weight loss, and escalate when results are noticed.
Below are some different types of eating disorders:
Anorexia, as it is commonly known, is characterized by maintaining an extremely restrictive eating schedule, as well as over-exercising. Many anorexics also use diet pills, water pills and diuretics to purge unwanted calories from their bodies, so they are in a daily calorie deficit, causing weight loss.
Bulimics are known to binge eat, or eat huge amounts of food at one time, and then rid the body of the food immediately to prevent weight gain. Bulimics usually use self-induced vomiting, but may use laxatives, diuretics or obsessive exercising. This dangerous disorder can quickly cause gastro-intestinal issues, such as ulcers, acid or gastric reflux, cavities, erosion of tooth enamel, constipation, dehydration and even death. Bulimics often have other anxiety disorders as well.
Anorexia athletica does not seem unhealthy at first glance. The person is usually applauded for their determination at getting to the gym more than the average person. The compliments that they receive on their results may even fuel the fire of their workout obsession. However, this is a case where the person does so simply to burn calories consumed to avoid gaining weight, or to quench their thirst for more and more accomplishments.
People with a compulsive overeating disorder, or binge eating disorder, use food to cope with emotional issues, and fill the voids that arise with day-to-day stresses. Many sufferers feel ashamed for being overweight, yet continue to eat to help them cope. Weight gain is inevitable, and it causes stress on the knees and hips. It also increases the risk for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health issues.
Treatment for an eating disorder is crucial. A quick search on the Internet will provide a number of treatment options in your state or city. Keep in mind that the first step is confronting the person–your friend, family member or yourself–to let them know that there is a problem. The sufferer needs to want to get help.