Eating disorders are mental disorders that affects the person’s eating behaviour, thus affecting physical and mental health of an individual. We address this topic because eating disorders can lead to many chronic and detrimental illnesses. Furthermore, due to most cancer patients experiencing weight gain after treatment, there is a tendency to fall into the temptation of eating disorders.
There are many kinds of eating disorders, namely:
- Binge eating disorder: People eat a large quantity in a short amount of time.
- Anorexia nervosa: People eat very less and are mostly obsessive about calories, making them very lean.
- Bulimia nervosa: Period of overeating followed by getting rid of eating.
- Pica: People eat non food items.
- Rumination disorder: People expel the excess undigested food
Symptoms and complications of eating disorders
Some of the physical symptoms include weakness, fatigue, cough, cold, reduced beard growth in men, frail physical structure, sunken eyes and weight loss. Complications include cardiac arrest, kidney failure, death, suicide, chronic illnesses and many more.
But what causes eating disorders in the first place?
- Genetics: Numerous studies have shown a possible genetic predisposition with eating disorders.
- Psychology: Some people have other disorders which will increase their vulnerability to eating disorders.
- Environmental factors include:
- Child maltreatment: Abusing a child physically, sexually and psychologically has given way to eating disorders in children.
- Social isolation: Social isolation can lead to anxiety, depression and stress and in order eliminate these feelings, a person indulges in binge eating.
- Parental influence: According to a study, anorexia nervosa occurs mostly in adolescent girls who are high achievers and obedient. Their parents always have a tendency to be controlling and fail to support their emotions, restricting daughters from following their desires and dreams.
- Peer pressure: According to a study, 40% of 9 and 10 year old girls who tried to lose weight also influenced their peer group in doing it.
- Cultural pressure: There is a false belief associated mostly in non-western countries that beauty depends on thinness, due to which the person develops bulimia nervosa.
But eating disorders can be detrimental and need to be dealt with in the right manner .
Here are few methods to get rid of or manage eating disorders
- Talk it out
If you are suffering from any of these eating disorders, it’s necessary to talk to one of your family members about it, from preventing further complications. Talking about this will help you find a right solution to it.
- Seek professional help
Along with a family support it’s necessary taking help from a counsellor or a nutritionist who uses specialised tools in treating eating disorders.
3. Joining a support group
Connecting with fellow supporters creates a platform to share your experiences and feelings which will help you heal faster. Exchanging views on how they are dealing with eating disorders will give you better options.
4. Accepting your feelings
The healing process becomes faster when you stop clinging to your old beliefs that losing weight is the key to success, confidence and health. Identifying your anxiety, grief, hopelessness and the root cause for all such emotions will stop you from developing any of these eating disorders further.
- Improving your self-esteem and body image
Estimating your self-esteem by comparing your achievements with other friends, siblings or the the images construed by the media, is a waste of time because your journey is independent of anyone else. Uniqueness and imperfections are beautiful.
List down all your positive qualities, achievements, hobbies to improve your self-esteem. Improve your body-image by dressing up beautifully, staying active and following healthy eating habits.
The other tips that you can follow are listening to music, self-motivating, getting enough sleep, going out for movie, running, having some good conversations with family and friends, avoiding smoking, feeling and being grateful, living in the present and reminding yourself to stay positive all the time.