An abnormal eating behavior is commonly called an eating disorder. Eating disorders are more than twice as common in women than they are in men. They can be devastating to the people suffering through them as well as to their friends and loved ones. When an abnormal eating condition takes over, it’s time to get help. If ignored, eating disorders can result in death or serious damage to the body. Three of the most common disorders are binge-eating, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa. The following information will help you identify each one, and it will give you the information you need to find treatment and help.
The number one eating disorder in the United States is binge-eating. This disorder is characterized by excessive overeating. This person will eat when they are not hungry, and will continue to eat to the point of discomfort. Binge eaters often feel ashamed for their behavior, and may attempt to hide their eating habits. Binge-eaters may often attempt to go on a diet and not lose weight. For this reason they are usually obese, but this is not always the case, and is not necessarily the sign of the disorder.
Bulimia Nervosa Disorder
A person who has bulimia will binge eat and then try to rid their body of the food by purging it. They may use laxatives or, commonly, force themselves to vomit. Bulimia nervosa, like anorexia nervosa, is characterized by a distorted self-image. They see their bodies as undesirable, no matter how they may actually look. For this reason, it is often difficult to recognize bulimia in yourself. If you think you may have bulimia nervosa, consult a therapist as soon as you can, and know that there is strength in asking for help. Bulimia nervosa is often accompanied by depression and anxiety
Anorexia Nervosa Disorder
Someone who has anorexia nervosa will refuse to eat in order to improve their body image. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a fixation on food, but never eating for fear gaining weight. As with bulimia nervosa, the anorexic has a distorted image of their own body, and may not recognize that their behavior is harmful. They may over exercise without eating at all. They will keep track of the calories they take in and eat as lightly as possible, and typically with extreme anxiety. They may be depressed, fearful, or neurotic, and they may have problems with their heart and their brain. Their anorexia could affect their growth as well.
Treatment for eating disorders involves therapy and counseling. In some cases, inpatient care, or staying in a treatment facility, is the best option. Inpatient care can be extremely effective. However, it may not be best for everyone. Many treatment facilities, like Center for Change, also offer outpatient care options, which can be equally effective. As with all issues of health, a doctor will know what is best. Remember, if you suffer from one of these disorders, it does not define you or lessen your value, and it is not your fault.