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No BODY is perfect!

Eating disorder awareness


There is a saying, “Life is about balance; too much or too little can kill. The best way to balance life is setting your boundaries and learning to say enough”. Whether this is true or not for life, it is very true when it comes to our eating habits.

What is normal eating?

Going to the dining table hungry and eating a satisfactory meal; appreciating the taste of the dishes and taking time to select the healthy foods; taking at least 20 minutes to chew well and eat the food; considering eating as one of the important areas of life and a regular chore. Unless there is a medical restriction, a normal-eater should not feel guilty or wary or restrictive about eating his or her regular food portions and preferred food types. A normal-eater will always experience satiety and comfort after every meal.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to a person’s daily diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. This actually begins with eating a bit less or bit more initially and progresses to an “out of control” level. Often a severe distress or concern on ones body weight or shape may characterize an eating disorder. Eating disorders commonly appear during the teen years or young adulthood, but may happen very early or late in life also.

ED more often coexists with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. ED is a very much treatable condition and can become life-threatening if symptoms are left untreated. Generally, it is thought that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Researches are still going on for better understanding of the disorder.

Although, eating disorders are considered to be a female problem, males are also affected with eating disorders that go mostly undiagnosed. Their symptoms may be similar to females or they may exhibit muscle dysmorphia (a disorder where there is extreme concern to become muscular. So, boys and men take steroids or other dangerous drugs to become muscular.

Types of Eating Disorders:

Common forms of Eating Disorders (ED) are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. There are a group of disorders called EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified); most people who seek treatment fall under this category. EDNOS results when the criteria for ED are not met with.

Anorexia Nervosa: Outcome of an obsession to extreme thinness or (emaciation). People relentlessly want to stay thin by extreme restriction of food. They don’t accept a healthy weight concept or the ill-effects of low body weight. They always fear of gaining weight. Girls and women end up with lack of menstruation. They eat very small amounts of only certain foods. They may engage in activities like binge-eating followed by extreme dieting, excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and/or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

Treatment is important to prevent ultimate symptoms like low body temperature and pressure, muscle wasting, chronic tiredness, dry/yellow skin, brittle hair and nails, structural and functional damage of heart, multi-organ failure, brain damage, infertility etc. Treatment objective will be to get the person to a healthy weight, treating the co-existing psychological issues, and changing their low-eating behavior.

Bulimia Nervosa: Outcome of recurrent frequent eating episodes of large amounts of food followed by forceful vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of all these. These people appear to be of normal weight, but always with a fear of weight gain. They secretly perform their bulimic behavior and that may even be as frequent as several times a day. They are extremely unhappy with their body weight and shape.

These people end-up with chronic inflammation and soreness of throat, severe dehydration from purging, electrolyte imbalance, reflux and gastrointestinal issues, swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area, tooth problems, and irritation due to laxative use.

Binge-Eating Disorder: Outcome of loss of control of eating. These people do not try to bring out the eaten food. So, they are usually overweight or obese. Obesity leads to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. These people feel guilty of binge-eating and as a result do more and more binge-eating.

EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified). This category has a mix-up of one or two conditions like a person with healthy weight having anorexic thought pattern.

Some other eating disorders that are less heard of are:

Pica is the desire to eat or lick non-food items like ashes, chalk, plaster, glue, paint chips, ice, baking soda, starch, rust, etc.

Rumination is a condition when a person tries to regurgitate, then re-chew and either swallow that or discard.

Diabulimia is deliberate manipulation of insulin level to control ones weight.

Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is when one is anorexic in the daytime and exhibits excessive appetite in the evening, associated with insomnia.

Orthorexia Nervosa is too much obsession to healthy diet that may interfere with normal living.

Drunkorexia is restricting food in order to accommodate calories from alcohol, then exercising heavily to kill those calories, and again over-drinking to purge out the consumed food.

Pregorexia is restricting food to avoid pregnancy weight gain. The consequence is low birth weight babies, depression, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease etc.

Treatment Options: All types of eating disorders need treatment according to individual needs. This may include one or more of the following:

1. Psychotherapy (individual or group or with family).
2. Medical follow-up and monitoring.
3. Nutritional counseling.
4. Medications (antipsychotic, mood-stabilizers, anti-depressants).

Watch the Video: Kids and Eating disorders

Cross questions ...

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Attorney: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
Doctor: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.