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Am I looking fat? Will that dress suit me? What does she do to keep herself toned? These are few questions, which I am sure must have occupied your mind at some point of time or other.
In today’s world, much emphasis is given on appearance; you may easily see people feeling self-conscious about their bodies. Some follow healthy ways of keeping themselves fit, while some take some shortcut to achieve the desired results.
In my school days I came across a person who has given all hopes of having a good body. He just used to stuff himself up with food. That time we had no clue that he was suffering from some sort of problem. It never occurred to us. We used to call him ‘stuff potato’. It was much later that I came to know that he was suffering from Eating Disorder.
Eating disorders normally involve self-critical and negative thoughts. They suffer from low self esteem, and have wrong impressions about themselves. In the severe cases a person may develop suicidal tendencies too.
Eating disorders cause major weight fluctuation, interfere with the normal day to day life, and damage the vital body functions.
Types and effects of eating disorders:
Eating disorders are severe behavioral problems that need to be cured. The major eating disorders are:
• Anorexia Nervosa: Anorexia is a Greek word meaning ‘lack of appetite’. People suffering from anorexia nervosa have wrong impression about their body and weight. They have an extreme fear of gaining weight. As a result they starve themselves by dieting, fasting, or excessive exercise. There are many hazardous and potentially life threatening side effects of anorexia nervosa, like heart problems, organ damage, anemia, hair loss and even long-term bone damage. Also someone suffering from anorexia might feel depressed and lethargic.
• Bulimia Nervosa: Often called bulimia, it is another type of eating disorder. A person suffering from this disorder eats a lot of food in a short span of time. This is called binging. The fear of gaining weight leads a person to get rid of the food eaten. This is called purging. People might purge in different ways like vomiting, exercising a lot, taking laxatives etc. The only difference between anorexia and bulimia is the body weight. People with anorexia are generally skinny and underweight, whereas someone suffering from bulimia may have a normal weight or maybe overweight as well. Dental cavities, salivary glands swelling and soreness, irregular heartbeat, stomach ulcers are some of the possible effects of bulimia nervosa.
• Binge Eating: Out-of-control eating is referred to as binge eating. People suffering from binge eating eat large amounts of food, even when they are not really hungry. But, later feel embarrassed, disgusted or guilty by the amount of food eaten. Negative effects of binge eating include bone and joint problems, depression, weight-related hypertension or fatigue etc.
Treatment of eating disorders:
Following treatments may prove beneficial for a person suffering from eating disorders.
• Psychotherapies: Eating disorders are virtually always treated with some form of psychiatric or psychologic treatment.
• Medications: Depending on the type of eating disorder and severity of the situation some medications may be helpful for patients.
• Nutritional Rehabilitation: Nutritional counseling can help patients regain weight and learn common expectations relating to hunger and eating patterns.
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