Eating Disorders: An Overview
It seems that eating disorders have become more popular in the last decades. Whether it is a subjective perception or a real fact, the truth is that it is an issue that should not be treated lightly. With the increasing influence and reaching of today’s pop culture, people have developed a notion of aesthetics that is completely based on what they see on TV, the Internet, magazines, and other media sources. And, many times, these new “beauty principles” go against people’s own health. In their pursuit to be as fit as society mandates, they sacrifice their physical health to look “good”, as if the ends justified the means. Experts in eating disorder counseling Westchester, NY services recommend getting educated on the matter in order for people to understand the issue and know how to approach it and treat it.
Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia nervosa see their bodies different from what they really are. This wrong perception makes them see themselves overweight even if they are not. They tend to exercise excessively, refuse to eat and develop some other detrimental habits. In extreme situations, anorexia could lead to starvation.
Bulimia nervosa: Patients with this type of eating disorder tend to eat in big quantities and then expel that food and calories by taking laxatives, inducing vomit, and other practices. Most people with bulimia keep their condition secret since they experience negative feeling such as low self-esteem, shame, among others. After emptying their stomach, they feel once again relieved.
Binge eating disorder: like in bulimia nervosa, individuals suffering this type of disorder eat excessively, but do not purge their bodies of the food they’ve eaten.
Although these are the most common eating disorders, there are others that do not meet the criteria for the ones mentioned above and are not as common.
Causes of Eating Disorders
There are several factors that may cause an eating disorder. Genetics play a role, although not definitive. On the other hand, certain personality traits and psychological elements may make a person more prone to suffer from one of these disorders, which will reflect on a low self-esteem, disinterest for their lives in general and discontentment with how they look. Also, it is important to note that some trends are associated with each kind of disorder. For example, people with anorexia normally look for perfectionism, whereas people with bulimia are mostly more impetuous.
Other factors that have an incidence in people with an eating disorder are traumatic events and negative emotions.
Why and How to Treat Such a Disorder
Since an eating disorder has physical and psychological effects, it is important to seek treatment, ideally with a physician and a licensed psychologist. Teeth damage, high blood pressure, diabetes, among others, are consequences of an eating disorder. Depression is also associated with these disorders, although there is no conclusive research yet to conclude if eating disorders cause depression or vice versa.
A psychologist who has experience treating these types of disorders can help patients to shift negative emotions into positive ones, discover where the case originates for each of them and improve their personal relationships; this is achieved through psychotherapy. However, it is crucial that the patient accepts that he or she needs professional help and seeks it, so that the treatment is successful. [RELATED: eating disorder counseling Westchester]