Eating disorder is an umbrella term which encompasses numerous effects triggered by inappropriate attitudes towards food. Namely, these eating disorders lead to various unhealthy habits, all of which encompass food.
If you think that you, or anybody you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek medical assistance and solve this problem which, when neglected can have a catastrophic impact on one's health and overall well-being.
What Is Eating Disorder?
Many types of eating disorders exist, manifesting through specific patterns of food consumption and inappropriate behavior which accompanies this process.
Eating problems and disorders affect people on a physical, psychological and social level. Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common disorders of this type, manifesting through one's proneness to staying as thin as possible, usually through starving or exercising excessively.
Bulimia is yet another eating disorder, the main sighs of which are weight control through binge eating followed by purging through voluntarily triggering vomiting by force of by using laxatives or other such medications.
Sometimes, people may have an eating disorder which solely makes them eat excessively, leading to weight problems. This condition is called binge eating.
Additionally, some eating disorders may not fit the descriptions below, even though they can clearly be observed and classified as such. In these cases, the eating disorders are classified as atypical or they are named differently.
One of the most common reasons behind all eating disorders is the system of values which is widely present and promoted in the modern times. Basically, being excessively thin and fit is something that is considered to be aesthetically appealing and related to success while every other body build and figure is discarded as unsatisfactory or even repulsive. This leads people into starving in order to achieve the desired weight.
Nevertheless, some other reasons may be the culprits behind eating disorders. Additional risk factors are having such disorders, or even depression and substance abuse present in your family health history. Also, people who endure the criticisms of others regarding their eating habits and body weight, usually end up developing an eating disorder subsequently.
Striving for reaching a certain weight can result in the development of eating disorders too. People usually make these changes in their eating habits once they want to get a job, get accepted to a certain group of people or some other social circles or when they want to excel at some sports.
Moreover, people with personality disorders such as anxiety disorder or obsessive personality, as well as those lacking self-esteem or perfectionists, all may become obsessed with their weight and sink into the depths of eating disorders.
Abuse can be the cause behind eating disorders too, especially in cases of sexual abuse or traumas like death experiences and bereavement. Furthermore, relationship problems and other common causes of stress can lead to eating disorders as well.
Are Children Affected by Eating Disorders?
As far as children are concerned, there are three main eating disorders which can be considered as the most frequently seen ones. These are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.
Interestingly enough, children can show symptoms of several eating disorders at once, overlapping them or alternating between a couple of them. Thus, a teenager or adolescent may suffer from anorexia during one period and become bulimic during another. Note that female children are more prone to developing eating disorders than boys are, possibly due to the social and aesthetic pressures they need to endure, giving their best to be as close to the TV stars and other role models as possible.
When children are suffering from eating disorders, they are almost always bothered by anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some other psychological and behavioral problems.
If your child is suffering from anorexia, he/she may show symptoms like anxiety, depression, perfectionism or a high dose of self-criticism, being on a diet without any visible reasons. Also, these individuals are likely to exercise more than necessary, fearing that they will otherwise become fat.
Due to the impact the lack of nutrients has on the body of anorexic individuals, females suffering from this problem are likely to skip menstrual periods, wear excessive clothing to cover up the starvation-troubled body figure and avoid meals or being overly careful and precautions during eating. In fact, any strange attitudes towards food may be considered as warning signs.
Bulimia in children commonly manifests through substance abuse, including drugs and alcohol as well as laxatives. Also, consuming excessive amounts of food in secrecy or exercising too much, emphasizing one's own physical appearance can be another sign of eating disorders, along with mood swings, long amounts of time spent in bathrooms after meals and vomiting after eating.
Finally, binge eating people usually suffer from hypertension, heart disease, excessive cholesterol in the blood and type 2 diabetes.
All in all, there are many different health problems which can stem from eating disorders. In order to prevent all these, you are advised to teach your child that being excessively thin is not a necessity and that eating the right food in the right amounts is crucial. Health should be the primary concern of both you and your child, rather than any social, life-threatening trends.