We all need to consume food in order tolive and function correctly. Lack of nutrients in our body can leadto severe health problems and even death. Therefore, eating the rightfood in adequate amounts and portions is a must. However, some people have problems whenit comes to eating, either starving themselves to their vision ofattractiveness or eating more than they need in order to compensatefor some emotional insecurities they are facing. Such occurrences arecalled eating disorders.
Abnormal Condition in Eating
Some of the most common eatingdisorders are binge-eating, where the sufferer consumes foodexcessively in order to deal with some emotional problems, bulimianervosa, where the affected individual practices binge-eating, onlyto purge him/herself afterwards though self-induced vomiting or usageof laxatives and anorexia nervosa, manifesting through one starvingand engaging into excessive physical exercise in order to achieve adesired state of physical fitness and weight.
Today, about 1 million of US males areaffected by eating disorders. Moreover, the number of femalessuffering from the same conditions is much larger, ranging from theestimated 5 to 10 million in the US.
Many factors contribute to thedevelopment of eating disorders. Namely, social, cultural,psychological, family-related and many other issues may be theculprits. Girls are more prone to developing eating disorders thanboys due to their increased levels of self-awareness in term ofaestheticism and body fitness. However, many experts blame the mediafor the rise of the frequency of eating disorders in the modern worldsince TV, newspapers and other such sources present stars androle-models as perfect, digitally rendered and made unreal, settingunachievable examples for the fans, most commonly being the youngermembers of the population.
Eating disorders can lead to death, ifthey are not treated on time. This death may stem from starvation,lack of nutrients, unhealthy lifestyle or escalations inpsychological problems which may lead to suicidal tendencies.
Eating Disorder and Laxatives
It is hard to obtain the exactfrequency of laxative abuse in the world. However, one thing is for sure - many individuals who suffer from eating disorders commonly abuselaxatives. Laxatives, per se, are special types of medications whichstimulate the bowel, promoting defecation. There are specificsituations like constipation where laxatives should be used. Yet,people suffering from eating disorders use these medications too,hoping that these will help them get rid of the extra calories theyinsert in their body through food.
In order for laxatives to be abused,doses higher than normal need to be taken or the medications need tobe taken for longer than necessary. Note that some individuals uselaxatives for months, even years, even though these medicationscannot possibly reduce one's fat levels or body weight.
Laxatives are thought to have such aneffect due to the fact that they cause dehydration, depriving thebody of water. This loss of fluids results in a mild loss of bodyweight, which may be considered as a desired effect.
However, dehydration deprives us ofcrucial nutrients and can lead to severe health problems such asfluid retention, heart palpitations, chest pain, diseases affectingthe heart, the liver and the kidneys, as well as the lining of theintestine, inflammation of the bowel and the leaky gut syndrome. So,once a person abuses laxatives, he/she is bound to experience painin the abdominal area, muscle spasms, diarrhea, nausea, problems withthe digestion, dizziness and constipation, among other side effects.
Once an individual has been usinglaxatives for a long time, he/she gets addicted to the unhealthyeffects they cause. Therefore, any cessation of taking the drugs canlead to various withdrawal effects such as the feeling of emptinessinside the bowel, anxiety in the gut area and many others.
The treatment process depends greatlyon the eating disorder a person is suffering from. Most commonly,several treatment methods are combined together. However, due to thefact that eating disorders are yet to be fully medically explained,in terms of causes and manifestations, most treatment methods weredeveloped from previous clinical experience.
Psychotherapy, through cognitivebehavioral therapy, where the individual's feelings and behavior areanalyzed and taken into consideration is one of the best possibleapproaches when it comes to dealing with eating disorders. Thistherapy has may subtypes which can be used for dealing with eatingproblems. These are acceptance and commitment therapy, dialecticalbehavior therapy and cognitive remediation therapy.
Alternatively, family therapy,interpersonal therapy, music therapy, recreation and art therapy andeven nutrition counseling, all have been proven effective.
As far as medications are concerned,Orlistat is the common drug used in obesity treatments. Additionally,zinc supplements and cortisol are also known to help.
All in all, eating disorders andlaxatives commonly go together, due to the false believes that thesedrugs deprive one of his/her extra calories. This, of course is nottrue and such usage of laxatives can lead to serious health problemsin the long run. Therefore, if you suffer from eatingdisorders, seek medical assistance and treatment instead of trying tohelp yourself through taking laxatives.