5 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Eating Disorders

5 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Eating Disorders

Eating disorders (ED) are serious and deadly problems.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) describes it as a disease in which people have a disturbing diet related to their emotions and thoughts. It is usually characterized by obsessive thoughts about food and weight.

Although it is treatable, this symptom is difficult to overcome. Are eating disorders inherited in families? Some studies show that. Is recovery a lifelong commitment? Clear.

They usually occur in conjunction with other health disorders. When this occurs, it is called a concomitant disorder, multiple diagnosis, or comorbidity. It is very important to know the information and resources on eating disorders in order to get treatment quickly. Eating disorders can be treated with the right program, diet, and mindset.

Read: The Mediterranean Diet: Benefits, Recipes and More

Eating Disorder Information

What Are the Types of Eating Disorders?

There is a wide spectrum of eating disorders. Some are more common and deadly than others. This is an example of Eating Disorders:

  1. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) – The doctor will diagnose a person with AN when he weighs at least 15% lower than the healthy one for his weight and height. Those who suffer from AN generally obsessively limit their food intake, are afraid of gaining weight and have a problematic body image. People with anorexia may vomit after eating or use laxatives to clean it.
  2. Bulimia Nervosa (BN) – It is difficult to know when a person suffers from BN. They often overeat and then clean their food through vomiting and using laxatives. What distinguishes BN from AN is binge eating. They will eat high-calorie sweets and then be afraid of weight gain.
  3. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – The difference between BED and BN is cleaning. Those who suffer from BED will eat emotionally when they feel out of control. They will eat high-calorie foods, will not vomit, and then feel distressed about it.

The above three ED's are the most common. However, there are more, such as pica disorders and ruminations. Eating disorders are not visible in a certain way. Just because someone is not thin, does not mean that they do not struggle with it.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

This means that they need psychological treatment. Therapy is a powerful tool to help people with Eating Disorders.

Behavioral health and wellness centers in Indonesia typically provide cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and holistic therapy to help patients regain their lives.

Types of Therapy for Eating Disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy comes from the theory that people have negative auto-thoughts that influence the behavior of their self-image. Therapists who specialize in CBT guide patients through exercises to help them identify harmful thoughts and change behaviors that originate from them.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT )

DBT is similar to CBT. However, it has a focus on validation and working with negative thoughts. People with severe mental illness can respond better to DBT than CBT.

Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy is a form of treatment that targets the body, mind, and spirit. A therapist who specializes in holistic practice may ask patients to do yoga, meditate, and take advantage of their spirituality.

5 Myths about Eating Disorders

Myth #1: Eating Disorders Are an Option

This myth is completely false. There is no truth to suggest that Eating Disorders is an option. Just like any other health problem, no one chooses to have an eating disorder. Those who suffer from one may voluntarily vomit or limit the calories they consume. But they subconsciously had thoughts that brought them to that point.

Plus, certain factors influence whether a person might develop it or not. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) writes that psychological, interpersonal, biological, and social factors can cause Eating Disorders. These factors suggest an eating disorder is a disease and not a decision:

  • Mental illness (ie: depression and anxiety)
  • trauma 
  • Strained personal relationships
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Suppression
  • The pressure of society to see in a certain way
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions
  • Facing discrimination and prejudice for looking for certain ways
  • Chemical imbalance
  • Genetics

This is an incomplete list. Eating disorders are very complex. Scientists are not fully aware of all the factors that increase the risk of developing it. Nonetheless, it is dangerous to spread the myth that DE is an option.

Myth #2: Once You Beat an Eating Disorder, It's Gone Forever

The truth is that many people relapse after they recover from DE. A lifetime recovery is just a small goal compared to lifetime motivation. NEDA states that "slipping, retreating, and relapse tend to be rules, not exceptions" when it comes to ED. A person may be fine for years before something triggers an old DE habit.

Some patients recover completely, but many do not. It doesn't make them fail. It just means they need to identify why they relapsed in the first place. Do they have a strong support system? Do they feel more overwhelmed than usual? Are they going through a period of stress in their lives? Answering these questions can help them return to the normal life they lived before the relapse.

Myth #3: Overcoming Eating Disorders Is Easy

Again, DE is a complex psychological and medical disorder. If someone has cancer, it would be outrageous to think that they can solve it by themselves. The same goes for DE. Those suffering from DE need professional guidance to help them cope. Not to mention, untreated DE can result in serious health complications and death.

It is not easy to treat DE. So, YouTube videos and going out more will not cure it. In fact, there is not always a "cure" for DE. The combination of medical assistance, constant self-kindness, and drastic lifestyle choices can help people get through eating disorders.

Myth #4: Eating Disorders Are Not Dangerous

This myth may stem from the myth that eating disorders are an option. Some may consider them less dangerous than other diseases because they are psychological. It greatly affects a person when they are starving, feasting, and cleaning. Not only is there a risk of irreparable psychological damage, but it can also damage the body in the process.

  • The health problems associated with DE are:
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • lack of nutrition
  • Stunted growth
  • Osteopenia 
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Loss of cognitive function
  • Digestive problems

A journal, Vascular Health and Risk Management , wrote that DE is associated with untimely death. Moreover, they write that DE, anorexia nervosa, can cause sudden death. Scientists are not fully aware of how it happened. They think it has something to do with heart complications. However, they know that anorexia nervosa seems to greatly increase the likelihood of sudden and unexpected death.

Myth #5: Eating Disorders Only Affect Women

Wrong, again. It is true that more women than men suffer from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa than men. However, more men suffer from certain types of eating disorders. For example, The Journal of Eating Disorders addresses the fact that men suffer more from overeating disorder (BED) than women. Approximately 2% of men with DE suffer from this disorder compared to 0.6% of women.

Women may be more susceptible to eating disorders due to social pressures. It's no secret that women are pressured to be thin and look youthful at all times. However, men also face dangerous beauty standards. Men are pressured to be muscular and strong.