Essay On Eating Disorders: Kinds, Symptoms, Treatment


Previously we discussed the problem of alcohol abuse among teenagers and drugs in sports problem. Now we want to discuss another urgent issue, in particular eating disorders. There are many kinds of eating disorders and many people suffer from them. That is why we decided to write this eating disorder essay to attract the public attention to this problem of modern society once again. Though there are many essays on eating disorders, but in this one we tried to present only the most important information on this issue. So read and enjoy. I hope it will be very informative and instructive for you.

Eating disorders

People who are concentrated on food and the weight often suffer from eating disorders.

Any person pays attention to food intake. Besides, everyone has periods when we eat less or more than usual. However, most of people return to normal diet. If it does not happen, probably we deal with eating disorders.

Today no one can argue the fact that mental health directly affects the physical health. But it is hard to imagine how much direct connection is between these two concepts, as in case of mental disorders consequences that are called “eating disorders”.

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are deviations compared to normal eating behavior. Normal eating behaviour means regular healthy meals that do not cause any physical or mental discomfort. But in case of eating disorders the focus shifts to significant cut of your meal or to its exaggerated enlargement.

The term “eating disorders” means psychogenic caused behavioral syndrome associated with disturbances in the reception food.

Kinds of eating disorders

There several kinds of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, atypical anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, atypical bulimia nervosa, binge eating (overeating), vomiting, and others.

The main symptoms of eating disorders are the following:

- excessive fear of weight gain;

- significant efforts to weight control (strict diet, vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive physical exercise);

- denial of the subjective significance of weight problems and eating.

Anorexia is the lack of desire to eat when there is a physiological need for food. Anorexia nervosa is resistant due to mental illness refusal of food intake even when a person has appetite, which is accompanied by abnormal eating behavior (artificial vomiting, use of laxatives, diuretics) and sign of physical exhaustion.

Patients who suffer from anorexia nervosa usually have the following symptoms: strict limit of food intake, despite a small weight; body image distortion (groundless belief in obesity); amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

There is also atypical anorexia nervosa, when one or more key symptoms of anorexia nervosa is absent, such as amenorrhea or significant weight loss, but in general the clinical picture is typical.

Anorexia is mainly treated on an outpatient basis, but if a patient strongly refuses to take food and there is the increasing decline of the nourishment (cachexia), the patient gets hospital treatment.

The therapy may include drugs for the correction of iron and zinc deficiency, and also antidepressants. At the hospital additional nutritious food is prescribed, if a patient refuses to eat, he / she gets parenteral nutrition (intravenously).

Since anorexia nervosa influences greatly human mental health, the recovery is difficult and slow, even when the patient is provided with the necessary assistance and treatment.

In rare cases the recovery is impossible.

That is why rehabilitation program for patients with anorexia nervosa includes not only restoration of normal weight and return to a healthy eating style, but also psychotherapy that should include change of the stereotypes and patterns of thinking and behavior at such a disorder. Throughout the course of treatment an individual therapy is carried out, sometimes even family therapy.

The estimated duration of the active phase of treatment lasts for three to six months. Expected results are moderate or significant reduction of symptoms, partial or complete restoration of weight.

Bulimia is an eating disorder, when a person regularly experiences bouts of uncontrollable overeating that are followed by deliberately caused vomiting reflex or other types of compensatory behavior. Just like in case of anorexia nervosa, the patients demonstrate abnormal concerns about the size of their body and have panic fear of getting fat.

Diagnosis of "bulimia" corresponds to the following criteria: regular bouts of excessive eating, vomiting, use of laxatives (cleansing type of bulimia), excessive physical exercise (type of not cleansing bulimia). Bouts of excessive eating usually happen on average twice per week during three or more months.

Bulimia is principally the problem of adolescence and early adulthood. More often women at the age of 16-25 years suffer from it (about 90% of cases).

Depression or any other unpleasant event contributes to the development of disorder at the early stages. Later excessive eating becomes planned. A bout usually begins with the feeling of extreme tension that temporarily is compensated by the food intake. Then the feelings of guilt and remorse appear along with the fear of obesity. Vomiting and other compensatory behaviors weaken the unpleasant physical feelings and reduce the feeling of guilt connected with overeating. The cycle of “binge-purge” develops very fast, and the patient more often feels depression and shame.

Unlike anorexia, people who suffer from bulimia usually have weight within the normal range for their age and height. But as well as people with anorexia, they are afraid of gaining weight and are dissatisfied with the size and shape of the body.

The cycles of compulsive (forced) eating and cleaning are usually repeated few times a week. Similarly to anorexia, people with bulimia usually have mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety and / or psychoactive substance abuse.

There are also physical disorders caused by episodes of cleaning, such as violations of electrolyte balance, gastrointestinal diseases, and also dental diseases.

When treating bulimia they use cognitive therapy to change the attitude of the patient to the shape and weight of the body, to get rid of the thought that enhances anxiety and leads to “binge-purge” cycle. Another kind of treatment is behavior therapy that includes exposure and prevent of the compensatory reactions. Vomiting is considered as forced behaviour that helps to overcome the feeling of guilt after overeating. The patient is allowed to eat “forbidden” food but then he / she is kept from vomiting. Antidepressants are commonly used in combination with other therapies. The overwhelming majority of patients show signs of significant improvement as a result of treatment. However, relapses happen and some patients return to “binge-purge” cycle.

The following factors influence the quickness and nature of recovery:

a) long-established “binge-purge” cycle is more difficult to change;

b) recovery is slower when “binge-purge” cycle replaces other, more normal activity, for example, communication with friends, active rest and so on;

c) it is harder to change the situation when the patient suffers from terrible depression or experience other emotional disorder.

There is also atypical bulimia nervosa, when one or more key symptoms of bulimia are absent, but in general the clinical picture is typical. More often it concern people with normal weight or even overweight, but with typical period of binge eating accompanied by vomiting or taking laxatives.

Binge eating, which leads to obesity, is the reaction to distress that can follow after the loss of loved ones, accidents, surgeries and emotional stress, especially people who are inclined to corpulence usually suffer from overeating.

Binge eating or obsessive, irresistible desire to eat is characterized by the following symptoms:

- usual consumption of large quantities of food;

- high speed of food intake;

- feeling that you can not organize and control the food process;

- constant feeling of hunger;

- eating alone

- continuation of food intake even when you feel satiety;

- guilt from such actions;

- continual food intake in small pieces.

This type of eating disorder differs from bulimia, because it is not followed by vomiting or other cleaning processes. That is why people who suffer from overeating often gain extra weight or suffer from obesity.

People with compulsive overeating experience low self-esteem, a sense that they can not control the events, they often feel helpless. About a half of people who have this kind of disorder occasionally feel upset and depressed. The attacks of overeating usually happen while mood swings, when they feel irritation, anger, sadness, anxiety, upset or face some other problems in life.

Psychologists and doctors claim that people with binge eating disorder often abuse alcohol, demonstrate impulsive behavior (they have fast reaction and often act unadvisedly), and they often do not feel responsibility for themselves and their actions.

Binge eating, if it does not disturb person’s life, is not dangerous. However, people with such a disorder usually worry because of their overeating. They more often than others experience stress, they face sleep difficulties, they have tendency to suicidal thoughts. They often feel bad, and because of this they lose or refuse to work, study, to have active social position.

Besides, such a style of eating is not healthy for the body and brings it additional load – the organism constantly works almost without resting. The results of this are diseases connected with obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, increased risk of diabetes, arthritis and other diseases.

People with compulsive binge eating disorder should seek the help of specialists: psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists.

There are also other kinds of eating disorders.

1) Psychogenic vomiting is chronic vomiting that occurs when happen emotional and other mental disorders.

2) Orthorexia is an obsessive desire to eat only healthy food.

3) Selective eating disorder is a refusal to eat certain food, thus person eats only limited list of products and does not want to taste something new (principles of food selection can be various: according to the colour, shape, species belonging and so on).

4) Obsessive counting calories in foods and portions is a very common phenomenon, less common is protective obsessive actions, such as food intake in strictly defined order, from certain dishes and so on.

Eating disorders is a complex problem that combines psychological as well as physiological factors.

Physiological factor is the problems connected with unhealthy diet: metabolic disorders, increased load on the body, exhaustion and others.

Psychological factor is severe emotional distress of the patient and the problems with socialization and behaviour control. Eating disorder usually requires simultaneous work with both factors by addressing to both, psychologist / psychiatrist and a dietitian / doctor.

According to many experts, problems and features of the patients who suffer from eating disorders have their roots in childhood. Consequently psychoanalytic therapy is considered the most effective in treatment of such kinds of disorders.

So as you can see the eating disorders problem is extremely serious and demands help of the specialists. If you liked this eating disorders essay and you want to read more essays like this one, then you should definitely visit our website. There you will find numerous interesting essays on various topics. Also if you need help in essay writing, contact our team and we will gladly help you.

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