Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses that have a negative bearing on one’s physical health. Whether they are a lifestyle choice or have some solid medical roots, the fact remains that the health risks associated with eating disorders simply cannot be ignored.
Many young girls in spite of being underweight starve themselves and deprive their body of nutritious food, which is more like inviting their own curse. Women of all shapes, size and age including extremely thin models with ideal body weight, have learned to be unhappy with their weight. Whether borne of popular culture or otherwise, this dissatisfaction can lead to harmful eating disorders.
Causes of eating disorders
- A culture obsession with thinness
- Emotional stress
- Peer pressure
- Anorexia Nervosa: Self-starvation/fasting.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Binge eating usually followed by self-induced vomiting.
- Binge Eating Disorder: Bingeing followed by misuse of laxatives or diuretics.
- Pica: Eating of non-food substance, like clay, hair, chalk, etc.
- Fear of gaining weight
- Irregular menstruation
- Refusing to eat in public
- Compulsive exercise
- Hair loss
- Self-esteem is tied to how thin they appear to be
Warning Signs & Physical Consequences
Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) – the depletion of both body fat and protein
Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses that have a negative bearing on physical health
- Malnutrition affecting brain functioning and judgment
- Lethargy, confusion, delirium
- Blood pressure falls
- Many deaths occur due to heart failure, liver ceases to function
- Impaired immune response and anaemia
Treatment & Precautions
- Enlisting professional help as soon as abnormal eating patterns develop.
- Parents should not insist their child go on a diet unless instructed by a physician.
- Do not tease people about their body shapes or compare them to others.
- Family therapy where it is made evident that family members are loved and accepted as they are.
- Eating meals together as a family whenever possible.
- Avoiding eating in times of stress.
- Monitoring negative self-talk and practicing positive attitude.
- Not going on extreme diets.
- Being alert to signs of anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol abuse and seeking help as soon as these signs appear.