Eating disorders are complicated, potentially devastating, and quite serious. Why do people develop eating disorders? Why do they happen? Eating disorders include bulimia and anorexia and according to scientific research they are caused by a number of factors including environmental, genetic, cultural, psychological, and biochemical.
3 Major Causes of Eating Disorders
Psychology: Psychological factors such as perfectionism, inadequacy or hopelessness, low self-esteem and impulsivity are major causes of anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
Environment: The environment one is living in plays a very important role in developing an eating disorder. These factors include; sexual/physical abuse, peer pressure, bullying, difficult childhood, and relationship problems.
Culture: Wanting to become thin, being dissatisfied with your body shape and size, and dieting upsurges the risk of being anorexic. This is so unfortunate because our society advocates for the three. The media, beauty standards of a society, and positive qualities associated with thinness always lead to eating disorders.
Types of eating disorders and their Symptoms
- Anorexia Nervosa
According to scientific journals individuals with this condition see themselves as overweight even when their weight is so low. Controlling weight as well as food becomes an obsession to them. Individuals with this condition weigh themselves often, eat small portion of foods, count calories in every meal and measure food very carefully.
- Extremely controlled eating habits
- Intense anxiety of weight gain
- Extreme emaciation
- Low self-esteem and self-denial
- Lack of menstruation among women and girls
- Unwillingness to maintain a healthy diet and weight
- Bone thinning
- Brain damage
- Severe constipation
- Bulimia nervosa
Individuals with this condition have frequent and recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of foods and are unable to control this feeling when it occurs. This feeling is associated with excess use of laxatives, forced vomiting, exercising excessively or a combination of all. People with this condition are usually faced with the fear of gaining weight and desperately want to lose it.
- They are severely dehydrated
- Have high hormonal imbalance
- Sore throat/ inflamed chronically
- Irritation caused by abuse of laxatives
- Intestinal distress
- Salivary glands tend to be swollen especially in the jaw and neck areas
- Gastrointestinal problems
Reduction of excessive exercising, engaging in healthy diets and discontinuing purging habits are the most recommended treatments for the two disorders. A talk therapy or psychotherapy is also an effective way of controlling these disorders.
Treatments can also be instilled in the following ways
- Nutritional counselors
- Close monitoring and medical care
- Family, group or individual psychotherapy