Eating disorders are issues that affect a person’s eating habits as well as their attitudes and feelings toward food — and their body. Eating disorders have an impact on a person’s mental health as well as their physical health. Eating disorders are classified into several types.
Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and avoidant/restrictive eating disorders are the most common types of eating disorders (ARFIDs).
People suffering from anorexia:
- Purposefully eat very little, resulting in a very low body weight
- Have a strong fear of gaining weight and of looking fat
- Have a distorted body image and perceive themselves as fat despite being very thin
Anorexics are extremely picky about what and how much they eat. They may be preoccupied with food or calories almost all of the time.
Some anorexics fast or exercise excessively to lose weight. Laxatives, diuretics (water pills), or enemas may be used by others.
Over eat, this is when you overeat and feel powerless to stop.
Do things to compensate for overeating, such as forcing themselves to vomit on purpose after overeating, a practice known as purging
To avoid weight gain, use laxatives, diuretics, weight loss pills, fast, or exercise frequently.
They evaluate themselves based on their body shape and weight.
Bulimics eat much more (over a set period of time) than the average person. Bulimia can be detected when a person binges and purges on a regular basis. People with bulimia can be thin, average weight, or overweight, as opposed to anorexics who are extremely thin. Bulimics frequently conceal their eating and purging from others.
People suffering from binge eating disorder:
- Overeat and feel powerless to stop
- Eat a lot even when they aren’t hungry
- After binge eating, you may feel upset or guilty.
- Frequently gain weight and may become severely overweight
Many people who suffer from binge eating disorder eat at a faster rate than usual. They may eat alone so that others do not notice how much they consume. People with binge eating disorder, unlike those with bulimia, do not force themselves to vomit, use laxatives, or exercise excessively to compensate for binge eating. Binge eating at least once a week for three months may indicate a binge eating disorder.
ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder)
People with AFRID:
Are uninterested in food or avoid it
Lose weight or do not gain the anticipated amount of weight
Are not concerned about gaining weight
Don’t have a negative body image
People with ARFID do not eat because they are disgusted with the smell, taste, texture, or color of food. They may also be worried about the fact that certain foods could cause choking or vomiting. They don’t have anorexia, bulimia, or any other medical condition that would account for their eating habits.
Eating disorders have increased dramatically among teenagers in the last year, according to experts. Teens’ loss of familiar routines and routine connections with friends, anxiousness about the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness, and food insecurity at home are all plausible causes for the increase.
The following are symptoms and alerting signs of anorexia and bulimia:
A female adolescent with anorexia nervosa is typically a perfectionist and a high achiever in school. At the same time, she has low self-esteem and believes she is fat no matter how thin she becomes. Desperate for a sense of control over her life, the teenager with anorexia nervosa finds it only when she says “no” to her body’s normal food demands. The girl starves herself in her never-ending quest to be thin. This frequently results in serious bodily damage, and in a small number of cases, death.
Bulimia symptoms are usually distinct from those of anorexia nervosa. The patient binges on high-calorie foods and/or purges her body of unwanted calories through self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or laxatives. Binge eating may be followed by strict diets, resulting in dramatic weight fluctuations. Teenagers may try to conceal the signs of vomiting by running water in the bathroom for extended periods of time. Frequent vomiting can pose a serious threat to the patient’s physical health, resulting in dehydration, hormonal imbalance, mineral depletion, and organ damage.
Binge eating can occur without the purging of bulimia and can eventually lead to purging. Children suffering from binge eating disorder must also be treated by a mental health professional.
Another eating disorder that can affect young children and adolescents is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (or ARFID). It is characterized by a disruption in eating or feeding, significant weight loss or a lack of expected weight gain, and nutritional deficiencies. ARFID can result in a need for a feeding tube or dietary supplements.
Many adolescents and children can recover from dysfunctional eating with comprehensive treatment. These psychiatric disorders are evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Individual therapy, family therapy, working with a primary physician, working with a nutritionist, and medication are typically used to treat eating disorders. Many children and adolescents also struggle with other issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. These issues must also be identified and treated appropriately.
According to research, early detection and treatment results in better outcomes. Families who notice signs of anorexia or bulimia in their teenagers could perhaps request a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist from their family physician or pediatrician.