Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that have to do with the way an individual eats. Nowadays, various types of eating disorders are affecting numerous people, ranging from children to adults. An eating disorder is not just about food and weight; it's also about how someone feels about themselves and their body image. Here are the common causes, symptoms and ways to help each type.
How Common are Eating Disorders in Kids, Teenagers, Adults?
Eating disorders are more common than people may realise. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, one in every 20 adolescents has an eating disorder, and one in every five adults has an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are generally more common in women than men and most prevalent among people between the age of 12 to 25.
Childhood eating disorders are more common. Eating disorders in teens are also on the rise.
Common Signs, Causes, Risks of Eating Disorders
The signs of an eating disorder can be physical or behavioural, but most often, there is a combination of both. Some common signs that someone may have an eating disorder include missing meals or periods of fasting, feeling guilty or ashamed after eating or using laxatives to control weight.
The causes of these disorders are not yet fully understood, but there is evidence showing that genetics play a significant role in developing these diseases. It can be caused by several different factors, including genetics, peer pressure, bullying and family issues.
The adults may suffer from eating disorders due to harsh diets or strict weight loss dieting programs. Besides these, tensions and pressures in professional and family life can lead to eating disorders.
If an individual suffers from eating disorders for a long time, it can lead to physical problems, such as heart disease, kidney failure and many other serious health concerns.
6 Common types of Eating Disorders in Children, Adolescents, Adults
Eating disorders in people of different ages are on the rise and can take many forms. Some of the common types are as follow:
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by abnormal weight loss or low body weight, a distorted body image and extreme fear of gaining weight.
The causes of anorexia nervosa are not entirely understood, but it is believed to involve biological, psychological and social factors.
-A persistent fear of gaining weight
-Distorted body image
-Extremely restricted eating patterns that typically lead to severely low body weight
-High levels of physical activity to prevent weight gain
-Excessive dieting leads to the person becoming underweight
-Amenorrhea (missing three or more menstrual periods in a row) or irregular menstrual periods
Ways to help:
There are many ways to help people with Anorexia Nervosa. Some of these include:
-Encourage the person to eat three meals daily, with one snack in between meals if needed.
-Focus on quality but not only quantity when it comes to food choices.
-Avoid triggering foods that may be linked to causing the disorder, such as sweets, high-calorie foods and high-fat foods.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviours to prevent weight gain.
There are many causes and symptoms of bulimia nervosa, which can vary from person to person. Some common causes are depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, or body image concerns.
The person eats large quantities of food in a short period, with no regard for their health or weight. This disorder can happen at any time, but it most often occurs when the person is feeling stressed or low in self-esteem.
The person will try to get rid themselves of the calories they have eaten through vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics and enemas. They may also fast or exercise excessively to compensate for their eating calories and make themselves feel.
The most common symptom is bingeing on large quantities of food, followed by purging the food or vomiting. Other symptoms include strict dieting, compulsive exercise, and laxatives or diuretics.
Ways to help:
There are many ways to help someone with bulimia nervosa. The most important thing is to provide the person with an environment where they can feel safe and supported.
The best way to help someone with bulimia nervosa is to get them professional therapy and treatment as soon as possible.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that causes people to overeat and feel guilty about it. People who suffer from this disorder may feel depressed, anxious, or disgusted afterward.
The causes of binge eating disorders are not fully known. Some possible reasons include mental health problems like depression or anxiety, genetics, and environmental factors such as stress or trauma.
Symptoms of binge eating disorder include eating a large amount of food in a short time while feeling out of control, guilt or shame afterward, and frequent dieting to avoid weight gain.
Ways to help:
The treatment for binge-eating disorders may involve counselling sessions by a psychiatrist or psychologist to treat the primary cause(s) and counselling sessions with a psychotherapist to assist in changing the behaviours that trigger the binge.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID)
The causes of AFRID are not entirely understood. It is thought that many factors contribute to the development of this condition, including genetics, personality traits, and environment.
People with AFRID may experience a range of symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or chewing food; avoidance of eating certain foods; concern about the consequences of eating; and feeling full quickly when they do eat.
Ways to help:
Many ways help people with AFRID manage their symptoms and feel better about themselves. They can work with a therapist individually or in a group setting to focus on these issues and develop new coping skills.
Orthorexia Nervosa is a term used to describe an obsession with eating healthy food. It can be a hazardous eating disorder, leading to malnutrition and other serious health problems.
The causes of Orthorexia Nervosa can be traced back to childhood and adolescence. Many sufferers had a history of dieting, which may have led to an obsession with weight loss and control over food intake. Orthorexia Nervosa is often accompanied by depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or a history of trauma.
Symptoms include: restrictive dieting, obsessive thoughts about food and weight loss, guilt after eating anything perceived as "bad," social withdrawal due to embarrassment about eating in front of others, perfectionism around.
Ways to help:
There are many ways to help those who suffer from orthorexia Nervosa. The first thing you need to do is find out the root cause of the disorder and then work on finding a solution for it. You may want professional help or advice from someone with experiences in this field, such as nutritionists or therapists.
Pica is the persistent eating of substances that are not food, such as ice, clay, or paint chips.
Iron deficiency is the common cause of pica.
The symptoms of pica vary from person to person and may include stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Pica can also lead to anemia or other nutritional deficiencies if done over a long time.
Ways to help:
There are many ways to help someone with pica. One way is by treating the underlying condition like iron deficiency. Another way is by using medication to treat the cravings for non-food substances and slowly reducing the dosage until they stop taking it altogether. Finally, a therapist can help with any underlying mental health issues that may be causing the cravings.
So far, we have discussed 6 types of eating disorders in kids, teenagers and adults. There are many ways to support a loved one or friend with an eating disorder. It is essential to be there for them and make time for them. It is crucial to understand their needs to provide the best support.