Eating Disorder: When Food Becomes the Enemy

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Eating Disorder: When Food Becomes the Enemy

People who are suffering from anorexia will resort to diet pills and purging / Photo by Getty Images


Eating behavior changes throughout one's life. It is essential to learn to be healthy without overdoing it. You must also learn to love your body instead of being ashamed of it. Sadly, this is not an easy task for many people. 

When lousy eating behaviors and negative thoughts become the norm, they can become eating disorders. There are a lot of people all over the world who suffer from an eating disorder. This is characterized by abnormal eating habits, such as eating too few or too much or being overly conscious of your weight and body shape.


Who is prone to eating disorders?

Most of the time eating disorders happen during adolescence and young adulthood. However, children and older adults can also have them. While women often have eating disorders, men can also suffer from these too. 

Other factors that can affect people who have a predisposition to having an eating disorder are genes, society, environment, and mental health. People who are suffering from anxiety, depression, or substance abuse are most likely going to have eating problems. Situations that cause high stress and those who are in activities that impose strict diets can also be a risk for having an eating disorder. 


Most common eating disorders

There are many eating disorders, but the three most common of them are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa
This is a life-threating eating disorder where underweight people see themselves as obese and overweight. An anorexic person will start to become obsessed with the food that they eat, and they will control their weight. Symptoms of anorexia are fear of gaining weight, being underweight, body image disturbance, extreme measures in controlling weight, and amenorrhea. 

Anorexic people fear that they will become fat. Even though they are already emaciated, they still think that they are obese.  As a result, they starve themselves or restrict themselves from eating. People who are suffering from anorexia will resort to diet pills and purging. 

Bulimia nervosa
When a person has bulimia, they eat a lot of food and then purge the food later on by forced vomiting, using laxative or diuretics, or, to make up for overeating food, the person may exercise too much or fast too much. A person may have bulimia when there are episodes of binge and purge, overly concerned with one's weight, feeling ashamed in binging and purging, feeling that you cannot manage too much eating, and purging secretly.

Binge-eating disorder
This happens when a person loses restraint over eating. In binge-eating, there is no fasting or purging. They might feel guilty about their weight and eating behavior, but these emotions further enhance binging. Symptoms of binge-eating behavior include uncontrolled overeating, feeling guilty of overeating, no purging after eating too much, and secretly eating. 


Understanding someone with an eating disorder

It is not easy to watch someone become consumed by their eating disorder. You see them wasting away and sometimes, the solution seems so simple but is not. These eating disorders can sometimes be a cry for help. Eating disorders are a way to cope with stressors in one's life. While you cannot make a person change right away, you can offer support and a non-judgmental attitude to help a person recover. 

People who have eating disorders make use of food to cope with pain and sadness. By restricting food, they feel that they are in control. Overeating makes them feel better for a while, and purging is used to fight the feeling of helplessness. 

If you feel that a friend or a family member has the warning signs of an eating disorder, you have to say something. Here are some tips.

-Choose a good time when you want to speak to a person and make sure that you do it in private. You do not want to get your conversation cut short because you will lose the momentum. You have to make sure that the person is in a good mood too. 

-Avoid lecturing because that will make the person defensive. They might not want to talk to you afterward. Be articulate and sensitive when you make your comments. Express your desire to help the person and voice your concerns. 

-Expect that the person to deny any eating disorder. Remain respectful because your friend or loved one will feel threatened. 

People who have eating disorders make use of food to cope with pain and sadness / Photo by Getty Images


Improving the quality of life

Quality of life declines when a person is suffering from eating disorders. Some therapists can help with the patients so that they can get back their quality of life. Treating eating disorders and other conditions can help the person slowly cope with life. 

There are various treatment programs that will help the patient learn to maintain a proper diet and eating habit, as well as exercise patterns. By receiving the necessary support, people with eating disorders can achieve wellness.




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