Eating disorders are psychological disorders characterized by abnormal eating behaviours, which affect a person’s physical and mental health. This could become serious and lead to a lot of disturbances or fatal illnesses. It is common in both males and females. The cause of eating disorders is not clear both biological and environmental factors appear to play a role.
These eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa eating disorder
- Binge eating disorder
- Bulimia eating disorder
- Ruminating eating disorder
- Avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological and possibly life-threatening eating disorder. People with anorexia nervosa have an extremely low BMI [Body Mass Index], which is a function of an individual’s height in relation to his/her body weight. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.
- People with anorexia nervosa see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight.
- They typically weigh themselves repeatedly.
- Severely restricting the amount of food they eat and eating very small quantities of only certain food
- Exhibiting a relentless pursuit of thinness
- Unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
- Low self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
- Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
- Amenorrhea: an abnormal absence of menstruation, or loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles
- Depression or lethargic stage
- Reported sensation of feeling cold, particularly in extremities
- Loss or thinning of hair
- Isolation from loved ones and friends.
People with this disorder consume a large quantity of food. They then try to rid themselves of the food they have eaten through forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/ diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise or combination of these behaviours.
- Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food
- Exhibition of behaviours such as self-induced vomiting and excessive exercise to prevent weight gain
- A feeling of eating out of control
- Self-esteem overly related to body image.
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Electrolyte imbalances, which can result in cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, or ultimately death
- Broken blood vessels within the eyes
- Enlarged glands in the neck and under the jawline
- Oral trauma such as lacerations in the lining of the mouth or throat from repetitive vomiting
- Chronic dehydration
- Inflammation of the oesophagus
- Chronic gastric reflux after eating or peptic ulcer
People with binge-eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. People with this disorder are often overweight or obese. It is the most common eating disorder.
- Disappearance of large amounts of food
- Eating in secrecy
- Lack of control when eating
- Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
- Frequent use of the bathroom after meals
- Having the smell of vomit
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
- Consume food even when you’re full or not hungry
- Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
- Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
This eating disorder is characterized by persistent eating of foods with no nutritional value. It is commonly seen among children, pregnant women and people with intellectual disabilities.
An affected person can eat something potentially harmless like ice or something dangerous like sand, dried paint, dirt, hair, soap, bleaching powder and charcoal. It can lead to complications like poisoning, infections, choking and intestinal obstruction.
Ruminating eating disorder
Rumination disorder is a condition in which a person keeps bringing up food from the stomach into the mouth (regurgitation) and rechewing the food. It is a common habit in children and may occur in some adults.
- Repeatedly bringing up (regurgitating) food
- Rechewing food repeatedly
- Absence of stomach upset or restlessness
- No nausea or vomiting
- Absence of fever and discomfort
- Regurgitation and rechewing may appear to cause pleasure.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) was previously known as a selective eating disorder (SED). It is a type of eating disorder where the consumption of certain foods is limited based on the food’s appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with the food. It is the second most common eating disorder in children 12 years and younger. Prevalence rates for this disorder range from 8% to 14% in an eating disorder treatment setting. It can be diagnosed in children, adolescents, and adults.
People with this disorder are at risk of psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorders and depression. Roughly 20% of individuals with restrictive food intake disorder are males.
- Restricted food intake caused by stomach upset
- Lack of appetite or interest in food.
- fears of choking or vomiting after eating
- Inability to eat in front of others (school or restaurant)
- Unresolved picky eating in childhood.
- Limited range of preferred foods.
Finally, it is important to take good care of your eating habits and eat right.