Treatment of Eating Disorders

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Treatment of Eating Disorders

What are the Different Types of Eating Disorders?

Approximately 30 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder. There is a variety of eating disorders, but the Fifth Edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recognizes the following as eating disorders:

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Individuals with anorexia nervosa restrict their food and calorie intake. Often it gets extreme and leads to starvation. Anorexia affects people of all body sizes. 

This eating disorder is characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight and not eating a healthy diet. Long-term anorexia can lead to malnutrition and severe health issues, which include:

  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Osteoporosis and growth issues in children and young adults
  • Irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, heart failure, heart valve disease
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pains
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anemia

Anorexia is a life-threatening disease. Physical complications and suicide are the leading causes of death due to anorexia nervosa.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a disease where people binge eat or think they eat large meals in a short time. After binge eating, they vomit, use laxatives, or over-exercise to purge their bodies of the calories. Unlike those with anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia often gain or maintain their weight. 

Complications that may arise due to bulimia include:

  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Dental issues – stomach acid from constant vomiting damages tooth enamel
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle spasms
  • Heart, kidney, and bowel problems
  • Bone issues such as osteoporosis

Bulimia is often hard to spot since people usually do it privately, but it is crucial that those that suffer from bulimia seek treatment for eating disorders.

What is a Binge Eating Disorder?

A binge eating disorder, or BED, is when a person losses control of his or her eating. Like bulimia, binge eaters eat large amounts of food in a short time. However, with binge eating disorders, people do not purge their bodies of calories.

People who struggle with a binge eating disorder are often overweight or obese. And while binge eating can start at any age, people typically begin developing this unhealthy eating pattern in their older teens and early 20s. 

Complications from a binge eating disorder include:

  • Obesity
  • High risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and heart disease
  • Increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as depression

Binge eating disorders may be challenging to spot as most people binge eat in private. If you struggle with binge eating disorders, it is crucial to seek treatment of eating disorders.

What is Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is characterized as failing to meet daily nutritional requirements. This typically develops due to a lack of interest in eating or a fear of the consequences of eating due to things like choking. People with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder may also avoid specific sensory characteristics of food like color, smell, or texture. 

The development of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is not due to a fear of weight gain. However, it can result in extreme weight loss or failure to gain weight and health issues from nutritional deficiencies. Eating disorders therapy can help people overcome their unhealthy thinking about food.