What are the causes, kinds, and outcomes of an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is that mental disorder which manifests in the form of abnormal eating habits, affecting your mental and physical health negatively. Millions of men and women in the USA have some eating disorder. As per the recent researches, 2 people in 4 have eating disorders. They have all unhealthy notions about their weight, eating habits and dieting. It is a serious condition characterized by persistent eating behavior. The ones who are distressed or concerned about their body weight and body shape, they adopt unhealthy eating ways. Now, this disorder is described as illness whereby an individual either eats excessively or eats less. Both situations can damage a person’s well being. There can be various causes behind it.

Factors contributing to an eating disorder:

The factors that lead to the onset of an eating disorder are complex. We cannot say that there is any particular reason behind the eating problem. Some of the factors that contribute to this problem are given below:

Genetic Factors: as per the research, it is found out that an eating disorder is related to genetic factors. This may result from the complex interaction between various genes. On the other hand, it may also result from some non-inherited genetic factor. Research is going on in this field to find out specific genes responsible for this problem.

Psychological factors: If you are showing personality traits like Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa, then you might have an eating disorder. These personality traits usually show before or after recovery from eating issues. Some of the symptoms are an urge to be perfect, neuroticism, lower self-esteem, a tendency to avoid others. Some people want to get back to shape. They starve themselves to reduce weight. As per psychologists, prolonged starvation can lead to a change in interpersonal, behavioral and cognitive characteristics.

Socio-cultural factors: Research shows that socio-cultural factors can also lead to an eating disorder. Beauty in our culture is equated by the slim figure. Many women in an attempt to reduce weight start eating less. Those who tend to internalize thin ideal, it is they who are dissatisfied with their bodies and develop eating disorders.

The various types of eating disorder.

When it comes to an eating disorder, we mainly have three kinds:

Anorexia Nervosa is the foremost kind of disorder whereby any male or female will have too much fear of putting on weight. They feel that without starvation it is not possible to attain a healthy body weight. Many people have a wrong notion or unrealistic perception of their body weight. They think that they are overweight when they are underweight. Anorexia can have a negative effect on the body. It can lead to organ failure, brain damage, heart problems, bone loss, and women can even suffer infertility.

Bulimia Nervosa: This is characterized by binge eating whereby a person shows certain behavior to compensate overeating. Such people exercise too much, forcibly vomit or make excessive use of diuretics and laxatives. The ones who have this kind of eating disorder, they are excessively dissatisfied with their body weight, size, and shape. They do binge-eating and purgation in secret to avoid feeling ashamed.

Binge eating disorder: Here the person tends to over-eat. Binge eating disorder is different from Bulimia Nervosa whereby the practice of binge-eating is not followed by fasting, exercising or purging cycle. The ones who have this disorder, they are mostly obese and at the greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular ailments.

Now we have this new classification in the kinds of eating disorder, namely, Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified which falls between the three names mentioned above.

Risk factors associated with an eating disorder.

If you are not serious about eating disorder traits that you show, there can be various health issues. In some extreme cases, there are even organ damages. A person who eats too little for fear of gaining weight can end up damaging his/her brain. On the other hand, the one who eats too much can become obese and develop cardiovascular and heart ailments. If you are not serious about it, problems may manifest in the following manner:

  • Missed periods and infertility
  • No feeling of hunger after a period
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive weight loss if you have a tendency to starve
  • Depression
  • Brain failures, Alzheimer’s
  • Excessive mood swing and irritability
  • Negative body image
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Poor self-esteem
  • The various symptoms of an eating disorder

The symptoms of eating disorders are given below:

  • Frequent weighing
  • Excessive dieting
  • Too much preoccupation with diet, food, nutrition, calories and cooking habits
  • Binge eating
  • Purging activities
  • Hunger denial
  • Memory difficulties and slowness of thoughts

If you find such traits or symptoms in your child, it is time to take professional help. If such habits continue at the later stage of life, there can be serious problems.

How common are eating disorders?

We often ignore eating disorder, but this condition is pretty serious. Malnourishment resulting from bulimia and anorexia can result in pancreatitis, heart attacks, hypoglycemia, heart failure and even loss of memory. It can lead to infertility in women and poor IQ in children. If a teenage girl is too much concerned about her weight, she might have bones of a woman of 80 years. This is pretty common among teenagers, and they do not even know about it. In the current era, there is too much of cultural pressure, and everyone tries to attain super-thin body. This is the major cause of the eating disorder.

Wondering what healthy eating in our diet-crazed society is? Eating a balanced diet goes a long way in revealing a healthy and beautiful body. You must not be prejudiced that eating properly leads to a weight gain. This is not necessary. If you live an active lifestyle, there is no fear of weight gain. You should eat only when you are hungry and eat slowly. Stop eating immediately when you feel full. If the food item is rich in calories, you must eat less of it. Drink plenty of water in a day to stay healthy, fit and fine.