According to theinternetfaqs.com,food plays a vital role in everyday life. It is therefore not surprising if more and more people suffer from eating disorders or nutritional disorders in this context. In today’s world, the media and business in particular have created an ideal that many people emulate. As a result, behavioral disorders occur again and again in the area of nutrition.
What are eating disorders?
Any abnormal eating behavior is referred to as an eating disorder or a nutritional disorder. However, there are different forms of eating disorders.
One of the most common is anorexia nervosa, also known as anorexia. Sufferers have a pronounced fear before weight gain and try this fear to cope with food refusal. Patients with anorexia are either severely underweight or lose weight dramatically within a short period of time.
Another eating disorder is bulimia nervosa, also known as bulimia or eating-vomiting addiction. This regularly leads to food cravings, in which those affected consume huge amounts of food in a short period of time. They then vomit to prevent weight gain. However, some people vomit almost every meal, regardless of binge eating. This form of bulimia often occurs together with anorexia.
The binge eating disorder takes a broader field of eating disorders. Those affected by this disorder consume a disproportionate amount of food. They also suffer from binge eating. As a result of the strong weight gain, other diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure occur.
The causes of eating disorder are very diverse. On the surface, weight reduction is the main focus of almost every eating disorder. However, the causes lie deeper.
In many cases, child abuse and sexual abuse play a role. Your own personality structure also plays an important role in the development of eating disorders. Low self-esteem, perfectionism and obsessive control behavior favor the development of disordered eating behavior. Family difficulties, such as dysfunctional ties, neglect or oversupply, also favor eating disorders.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
Just as diverse as the forms of eating disorders are the symptoms by which they can be recognized. It is important to know that the definition of “eating disorders” is a psychologically indicated syndrome. Diseases with a purely physical cause that make it difficult to ingest or process food are referred to using different terms.
A typical symptom of an eating disorder is intense mental preoccupation with food and ingestion. Eating disorders affect women much more often than men, but the disease also occurs in men. The relationship to normal food intake is becoming increasingly complicated, the thoughts of the person concerned constantly revolve around food. Very often it is also about how to avoid eating as much as possible.
The people around them usually do not notice the eating disorder for a long time, as the sick cover up their behavior very well and usually do not talk about it. In many cases, the eating disorder becomes visible at some point when it’s accompanied by dramatic weight loss.
Many sufferers not only want to be slim, but extremely thin, which can ultimately drive them into anorexia. What is noticeable here is a highly subjective view and assessment of one’s own body. Slender people who are already noticeable often talk about having to lose weight or being too fat.
Diagnosis & course
Diagnosing eating disorders is not always easy, especially since those affected rarely have insight into the disease. Affected people are usually noticeable because they have lost or gained weight or because they are underweight. The constant preoccupation with the topic of food can also be conspicuous and should draw attention.
A specialist can confirm the suspicion. This is done through a thorough examination that includes a blood test. Depending on the type of eating disorder, certain factors provide information about whether an eating disorder is present or not, as weight is not always the decisive factor. However, if the person is clearly underweight or overweight and metabolic diseases are excluded as the cause, an eating disorder is suspected. A detailed diagnosis by a psychologist can confirm the suspicion.
The course of this disease depends to a large extent on the patient’s understanding as well as on the severity and any secondary diseases that may already be present. Anorexia in particular is often fatal, as the heart can be irreparably damaged by malnutrition.
If the patient shows understanding and cooperates, the treatment can be successful. However, in many cases, lengthy and multidisciplinary therapy is required to cure an eating disorder.
People who suffer from eating disorders naturally also have to struggle with various problems and complications. The biggest and most serious complication, of course, is weight loss, which logically occurs due to nutritional deficiency. The body is not supplied with enough energy so that all fat reserves are used up.
In the case of persistent eating disorders, affected people lose a great deal of weight within a short period of time. In the worst case, this complication can even lead to death if the body is not supplied with enough nutrients. Eating disorders are, in most cases, associated with repeated vomiting. In many cases this happens immediately after eating.
The frequent vomiting can lead to severe irritation of the mucous membranes and the throat. In particularly bad cases, even the lungs can be permanently damaged. In affected people who suffer from an eating disorder, the entire immune system is of course immensely weakened. This makes the human body more susceptible to a number of diseases.
Since the body lacks important vitamins, infections occur more frequently and recovery is much more complicated. A normal infection can cause dangerous complications in a person with an eating disorder. Even with appropriate medication, treatment will be extremely complicated and lengthy.
When should you go to the doctor?
If it is determined that an eating disorder is present, it is not always necessary to consult the doctor immediately. In many cases, if they recognize an eating disorder, they can do something themselves. If possible, he should seek help from relatives. In the case of extreme obesity, i.e. obesity, an as yet undetected disease could also be the reason for the rapid and excessive weight gain. This should definitely be clarified by a medical professional. The doctor can also provide information about diet and suggest other measures such as stomach reduction.
The eating disorder associated with radical weight loss makes it very difficult for some patients to regain weight on their own. First of all, there must be an understanding that it is a disease. In this case, too, it is best to consult a doctor. If the patient is threatened with severe deficiency symptoms, which can lead to starvation, medical care is essential. There is usually a mental disorder, the cause of which should be clarified by a specialist. In order to be able to gain weight again, a lot of patience is necessary, which is hardly possible without medical support.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of an eating disorder depends on the severity and secondary diseases. Inpatient therapy in appropriate specialist clinics is usually necessary. In severe cases, physical stabilization must first take place before the actual underlying disease can be treated.
In most cases, the therapy of an eating disorder is multidisciplinary and primarily includes psychologically oriented therapy. In any case, there is close medical care that monitors and treats any consequential damage such as heart disease, deficiency symptoms or diabetes.
Furthermore, depending on the patient, further therapy options such as occupational therapy, eating training, body therapy, art therapy, rehabilitation measures, physiotherapy, sports activities or assisted living can have a supportive effect.
It is important to find out what the cause of the eating disorder is and to eliminate or treat it. Systemic therapy or family therapy can also help here. In severe cases, a sick child or young person must be removed from the family by the youth welfare office.
Outlook & forecast
The prognosis of an eating disorder depends on various influencing factors. These include the form of the eating disorder, the onset of the first manifestation and the severity of the disease. If there are other mental illnesses, the prognosis worsens. The worst prognosis is anorexia. This is rarely completely cured. Statistically speaking, 1/3 of the patients remain unresponsive to eating for their entire life, 1/3 suffer further illnesses and only 1/3 of those affected improve their state of health.
Full recovery is very rarely achieved. The patients gain weight, but mostly remain severely underweight throughout their lives. About 10% of anorexic people die as a result of malnutrition. The younger a patient is when the disease breaks out and the sooner therapy is given, the better the chances of recovery.
A low starting weight at the start of therapy reduces the chances of improvement. With bulimia, about half of the patients have a good prognosis. 30% experience a chronic course of the disease and 20% of those suffering from bulimia show only a slight improvement in symptoms in the further course. Eating disorder patients often develop anxiety disorders, addictions or impulse control disorders. The more often the vomiting itself was induced, the more firmly the bulimia became entrenched. Anorexia patients often develop bulimia as the disease progresses.
An eating disorder cannot be prevented in the traditional sense. However, the risk that a child or adolescent will become ill can be reduced by reducing the essential factors in favor of it.
This includes a stable and caring family unit in which healthy and strengthening relationships exist. Children who are self-confident and self-assured and have enough stable connections can deal with setbacks and their own weaknesses better and are therefore less prone to behavioral disorders, especially eating disorders.
After a completed therapy, it makes sense to continue strengthening your personal resources. Self-esteem often plays a key role in this. Eating disorders often lead to social isolation. At the latest in the aftercare, it is time to rediscover old acquaintances and strengthen contact with friends and family members.
In this context, people who until recently had an eating disorder also need to address the question of how openly they would like to deal with their medical history. Since eating disorders often develop in adolescence, many sufferers have to learn again in the follow-up care to find their way around school or at work. For adults, too, applications or returning to the old job can be a challenge.
Aftercare includes behavior in everyday life. This also includes shopping, cooking and everyday housework. Fixed structures can help to maintain healthy behavior patterns that have been developed. The psychological aftercare consists largely of relapse prevention.
In addition to the eating disorder, there may be other mental health problems that also need treatment. Since eating disorders can lead to medical complications, medical follow-up care may also be required, for example in the case of organ failure or weakness.
Follow-up care is often divided between the end of psychotherapy and additional measures such as self-help groups or group meetings in counseling centers with psychological guidance.
You can do that yourself
What patients can contribute to treating their eating disorder themselves depends on the type of disorder and the extent to which the disease has already reached.
People who suffer from an eating disorder should always consult a doctor and, if necessary, start psychotherapy. In the event of regular, uncontrollable binge eating and subsequent vomiting, it is important to find the cause of the seizures. Those affected can then avoid such situations or learn to deal better with these challenges.
If stress is the trigger for binge eating, relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or yoga can often help. If the binge eating occurs mainly at night, the right shopping behavior can ensure that the bouts can no longer be lived out unhindered. Anyone who suffers from bulimia should only have the food for the current day in the house. At best, healthy, low-calorie foods may also be bought in larger quantities.
People suffering from anorexia are often helped by a nutrition plan, which should be drawn up by a trained nutritionist. If there are already deficiency symptoms, the use of dietary supplements can be useful. Often times, anorexics find it easier to consume calories in liquid form. Vegetable shakes and mixed milk drinks can be turned into a healthy, high-energy meal by adding ground nuts or seeds. 100 grams of pine nuts, for example, provide almost 700 calories and at the same time contribute to the supply of important micronutrients.