The phrase ‘eating disorders’ gives a good idea of what eating disorders are. It has to be something about food, right? Well, yes. People who have eating disorders have problems with their body image. This leads them to make wrong diet choices that hamper the body’s ability to get proper nutrition. Eating disorders can get so bad that one needs to go to a center that offers 24-hour emergency care. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder. It has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders. This highlights the importance of emergency care near you in treating eating disorders.
Eating disorders are psychiatric disorders that have to do with persistent eating behaviors. These unhealthy behaviors take a toll on one’s health and interfere with normal daily activities. Children and young people with eating disorders can present at an ER near you with cardiovascular complications or electrolyte imbalances. They can also present at an emergency room in Waxahachie with thoughts of suicide. Hence, it is important that one notes the warning signs and get the needed medical attention. They usually occur in teenagers and young adults. However, they can develop at other ages too. The good news is that they are treatable. Let us discuss the types of eating disorders.
Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by extreme efforts to lose weight due to a skewed perception of one’s weight and shape. A person who has anorexia nervosa has a morbid fear of gaining weight and will go to any lengths to avoid it. This includes excessive exercise, using laxatives or diet aids, or vomiting after eating. It doesn’t matter if they are underweight. Some do it up till the point of starvation and death.
Bulimia Nervosa is a bit similar to anorexia nervosa. However, in this case, the person binges on plenty of food within a short time. Then, they try to lose the excess calories through any means possible. They also have an intense fear of weight gain from overeating. Many of them restrict their eating during the day and this results in a vicious cycle of binge eating and purging.
The binge-eating disorder is everything its name implies. An individual eats too much food regularly and cannot control it. But, there is no extreme attempt to lose the extra calories. There is no attempt at all. The person feels guilt and shame and can hide the bingeing away from others.
Rumination disorder refers to the act of repetitive regurgitation of food after eating that is not due to any of the eating disorders already mentioned. Regurgitation may not be intentional sometimes and it is brought back up without nausea or gagging. Some rechew and swallow the food, others spit it out. In a bid to prevent the behavior, some eat less food and this leads to malnutrition. Spitting the food out consistently can lead to malnutrition too. The disorder occurs more in infants and people with intellectual disabilities.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder refers to the act of avoiding food because of unusual reasons. Some don’t have an interest in eating. Some will reject food with certain smells, tastes, colors, or textures. Some are scared of choking while eating. But, it is never about the fear of gaining weight. People who have this disorder are usually poorly nourished and underweight.
Eating disorders tend to run in families. Some people have psychological and emotional problems that contribute to the disorder. Low-self esteem or problems with relationships can lead to eating disorders. Teenage girls and young women are predisposed more to eating disorders and have the highest occurrence. People who have other mental health issues are also prone to developing eating disorders. Dieting, starvation, and stress can also increase the risk of eating disorders.
If not well managed, eating disorders can cause many problems. These include malnutrition, suicidal ideation, cardiovascular complications, electrolyte imbalances, and dehydration.
There is no definite way to prevent eating disorders. But it will help to talk to your child about their body image so that you can correct any misconceptions. Eat meals together as a family and avoid dieting around children. See a doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms. Early treatment reduces the risk of complications.