Eating disorders are rather serious medical problems that affect people of different ages. They are more frequently developed in females comparing to males. The main types of eating disorders are binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa. These types of eating disorders are complicated problems that may have various causes and symptoms, which are not just the matter of food and weight. Therapists, psychologists, dieticians, and other professionals understand that eating disorders are the symptoms of something deeper that is going on inside a person. That is why professionals all over the world are working hard in order to help those people, who are suffering from binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder, which has certain symptoms and causes. The research asserts that this type of eating disorder may occur in those cases when people begin to eat a lot of food after dieting. For example, when people cannot stay on a diet anymore, they break the rules about what to eat and when. They feel like they were starving for a certain period of time and as a result, they do not control how much they eat. Consequently, they eat all they want regardless of food and its amount. When a patient consumes a huge amount of food in a relatively short period of time, his/her body is not prepared for this. Overeating after dieting is not the only reason for binge eating disorders. Negative emotions and stress are also common causes of binge eating. Many people with binge eating disorders are ashamed of their habits to eat a lot of food, and very often they do it in secret (Smith et al. 23). Therefore, a complex approach is needed in order to identify the reasons for this disorder and to find the most effective ways of its treatment. The research asserts that those with binge eating disorders are at risk for a heart attack, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and bone deterioration. Treatment for binge eating disorders requires different approaches.
It should be noted that people with this type of eating disorder must consult with professional doctors. The research asserts that one of the solutions to the problem could be Overeaters Anonymous meetings. Though binge eating disorder is not recognized as a psychological disease, it would be rather helpful for patients to consult with psychotherapists. In fact, there are several types of treatments of binge disorder, such as drug therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy. These types of treatment offer patients a chance to change their eating behaviors, to overcome difficult situations, and change their eating habits. It is worth mentioning that not only professional doctors can help the patients, but also friends and relatives; moreover, different health recovery plans and organizations may be very helpful. In order to achieve positive results, it is important to understand that knowing the roots of this eating disorder is essential. In order to overcome binge eating, patients are supposed to have enough sleep, listen to their bodies, have good exercises, avoid temptation, manage stress, keep a food diary, and be supported (Smith et al. 24). A recent study found that patients may recover faster if they would be involved in different self-help programs and sessions, where they will be taught how to overcome their eating disorder. Therefore, all methods of treatment should be taken into consideration.
Bulimia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder, which is characterized by binge eating followed by efforts to avoid weight gaining. People who are suffering from bulimia nervosa are constantly struggling with being overweight and the desire to binge eating. In fact, people cannot keep their actions under control, i.e. overeating is often followed by long exercises, dieting, and other methods in order to become thin. Even if they know that they will feel bad or ashamed because of binge eating habits, they cannot control themselves. After that people may consume about 3,000 or even 5,000 calories in a very short time. When such people realize that they started eating too much, they begin to do such things as taking ex-lax or start the excessive exercise. More often they attempt to get rid from food they have just eaten by vomiting (Palmer 447). The research asserts that most of the patients with bulimia nervosa have normal weight. Lack of control of overeating is only one sign and symptom of bulimia nervosa. Other symptoms are as follows:
- Secrecy surrounding eating, which occurs when patients want to eat in privacy or during nighttime, when all family members go to bed.
- Addiction to fast food. Most of the patients prefer eating fast food instead of normal homemade food.
- They can eat unusual amounts of food.
- Patients have fluctuations of weight.
Bulimia nervosa may be also accompanied with physical signs and symptoms, such as:
- Puffy “chipmunk” cheeks
- Frequent fluctuations in weight
- Induction of vomiting
The research asserts that people with bulimia are at risk because their vomiting, diuretics, and laxatives lead to side effect such as dehydration of the body (Russell 432). That can affect a misbalance in the whole body, mostly a low potassium level. If this level becomes chronically low, it can cause kidney failure. Treatment and therapy are the main issues to stop this disorder and to help patients. Emotional issues are supposed to be placed in the first place in order to overcome bulimia disorder. Patients with this eating disorder have to realize that their low self-esteem may be the main reason of bulimia nervosa. Thus, the help of psychotherapists may be rather effective. According to the available information, cognitive behavioral therapy could be a perfect choice of treatment. Different supporting programs, sessions and organizations may help patients with bulimia nervosa symptoms to improve their self-esteem and make them love their bodies. When a patient would be ready to accept his/her body, he/she will feel himself satisfied; feeling satisfied with own body gives him/her a chance to solve the problem. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be rather effective, because patients may learn how to behave in order to accept themselves and their bodies differently. It was noted that in most complicated issues doctors may prescribe medicine.
Anorexia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder that causes the loss of weight, which is considered to be lower than normal according to height and age. This disorder has rather psychological symptoms because people with anorexia nervosa have an intense fair of weight gain. This is often observed in people who are already underweight. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extra food restriction, especially in adolescence and early adulthood. In order to improve their bodies and make them perfect, people refuse to eat food, which is the main source of their energy and well-being. Therefore, they are losing weight and it leads to metabolic and hormonal disorders (Kovacs D & Palmer RL. 224-8). These patients do not feel hunger because of its constant suppression. The main reason of anorexia nervosa is low self-esteem. Thus, people think that their bodies are not perfect, or they are too fat. As a result, people with anorexia nervosa eat very little food or even starve. Anorexia nervosa could be considered as a serious mental illness with a high mortality rate and different psychiatric disorders. Most patients with anorexia are suffering from depression. The symptoms for anorexia nervosa may be as follows:
- Rapid weight loss
- Fair growing on the face and body
- Dangerous overweight
- Unnecessary dieting
- Rituals (i.e. cut food into tiny pieces, escaping eating with others)
- Low self-esteem
The above-mentioned symptoms are just a few to mention. Anorexia nervosa usually begins during the teen years, what is rather dangerous for young patients, who still continue to grow. Treatment is usually a very difficult process because most patients do not want to admit that they are sick. The main goal of treatment is to restore their weight and eating habits. Different programs may help people with anorexia nervosa symptoms to overcome this disorder. Many patients may be treated in hospitals, if they have lost a lot of weight. If a patient is below 70% of the normal weight, he/she may be fed through the vain or stomach tube. Anorexia nervosa may have different complications, such as heart problems, confusion, depression and even thoughts about committing suicide (Russell 440-48). Cognitive behavior therapy may be rather helpful for patients with anorexia nervosa. Among this therapy, it is worth mentioning the importance of family therapy and group therapy. The main goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to change patient`s thoughts, self-esteem and behavior. In most severe cases, antidepressants, and antipsychotics are used.
Binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa have similar symptoms and treatments, but each of them needs special treatment and approaches. Therapists, psychologists, dieticians, and other professionals are anxious about patients with these disorders and are willing to offer the methods of treatment. It is proven that there is no medication that can heal these diseases. That fact makes it obvious that new methods should be found in order to help patients with these eating disorders.