Eating Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery

Eating Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery

Statistically, at least 1 in 3 Americans can be considered diet obsessive. And why not? We are constantly being bombarded with imagery of fantastic-looking size zero supermodels wearing gazillion-dollar perfume and diamonds. They’re always fastened to the arm of some bad-boy-hottie in a luxury car parked outside a five-star restaurant. The sad reality for an increasing number of people, especially young women, is that our obsessive relationship with food is instead spiraling into a national health tragedy. If you have been suffering from such an issue, you can find a proper treatment for eating disorders as well as addictions treatments in Contra Costa.

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by starvation and an intense fear of gaining weight. The sufferer has an extremely distorted sense of their body image, and no matter how dangerously thin they become, they will continue to see themselves as too fat. Typically, they will reach the point where the intake of all kinds of foods is limited, and what they do eat is dispelled by self-induced vomiting or by taking laxatives.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by frequent (at least twice a week) episodes of out-of-control eating, called binges, where the sufferer consumes an amount of food that far exceeds the norm for the same period of time. The bulimic then controls potential weight gain through the use of vomiting, laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercise. This is a particularly dangerous disorder because a bulimic’s weight will usually only vary slightly from the normal range and therefore appears normal.

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by binge (out of control) eating. Unlike the bulimic, the binge eater does not attempt to mitigate the certain weight gain that results from the episode. Instead, they remain clinically obese.

Around eight million people in the USA suffer from eating disorders, while three percent of all young women and girls suffer from anorexia nervosa. Also, a lot of people suffer from lessor forms of such a condition.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are the result of many factors. They include:

  • A lack of control in one’s personal life
  • A need for social approval
  • Food addiction
  • Low self-esteem

Statistically, sufferers will tend to be white women from middle, or upper-middle-class families where there has been a heavy emphasis placed on achievements and appearance. They will often have other disorders:

  • 50% suffer from clinical depression
  • 25% suffer from alcoholism
  • Other statistically significant problems include other addictions like gambling and compulsive stealing.

Treatments for Eating Disorders

There are over 50 dangerous diseases and conditions associated with eating disorders. For this reason, treatment almost always focuses initially on the threat to life. After that, the focus shifts to a therapy-based approach involving not only the sufferer but friends and family too. A therapist that specializes in eating disorders will help keep the focus on the factors that have contributed to the problem.

If you believe that you or someone you love may be suffering from an eating disorder, seek professional help immediately. Eating disorders are dangerous, and they don’t go away by themselves. They will eventually lead to irrevocable damage to the body and organs and often to death.


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