Any magazine or television program has an abundance of photos of extremely thin women and men which is the norm in today’s society, or at least in the Hollywood sense.

Any magazine or television program has an abundance of photos of extremely thin women and men which is the norm in today’s society, or at least in the Hollywood sense. However, the average man or woman doesn’t fit this image. Size 14 is becoming more of a norm for women than a size two. However, people today still strive to fit the Hollywood persona over that of the average person. Thus, it is no wonder that the number of people, both men and women, struggling with eating disorders is on the rise. In fact, statistics show that the number of cases of eating disorders has continued to rise for the past 30 to 40 years. We will look at the different disorders and discuss treatment options so that we can avoid being one of those statistics.

Anorexia nervosa is sometimes referred to as the starvation disease. In contrast to some of the other disorders, men and women suffering from anorexia nervosa take in very small quantities of food. They are very careful with portion size and will only eat certain foods. A person with anorexia nervosa spend a majority of their time and energy consumed with weight, checking the scale or the mirror several times a day. No matter how low their weight may drop, the disordered thoughts of anorexia lead them to believe that they should weigh less. Severe lack of nutrition can lead to serious health risks and complications.

Bulimia nervosa is almost a polar opposite of anorexia. A person struggling with bulimia nervosa would go through recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food. This usually occurs frequently and is then met by strong emotions of guilt about the lack of control the person used. As a means of regaining control, the person with bulimia would frequently force themselves to vomit, work out excessively, or take laxatives to purge themselves of this binge-eating. Bulimia can cause damage to the teeth, gums and esophagus, in addition to other medical issues.

Binge-eating disorder is somewhat similar to bulimia. The biggest difference between these two disorders, is that as opposed to a person suffering from bulimia, a binge-eater does not try to rid themselves of the extra food consumed. In fact, the person may be overweight to the point of obesity. Guilt over this binge-eating usually fuels more binge-eating, creating additional health risks like heart problems and high blood pressure.

While every single individual’s particular situation is different, the route of treating all three of these eating disorders is similar. Intensive treatment by professionals specially trained in eating disorders treatment can assess that person’s behaviors, thoughts, self-image and personal history. Forcing someone with an eating disorder to change their eating habits will never effectively address the underlying issues. There must be some desire from within to fight the eating disorder, with a supportive treatment team and family involvement. Through treatment, additional disorders, including depression, anxiety or other mood disorders, can be effectively identified and treated. A major component in treating all three of these disorders is psychotherapy and counseling, which tackle the thoughts behind a person’s habits and their view of themselves.

Even though eating disorders are more prevalent in our society than they used to be, it doesn’t have to stay that way. By becoming more informed about different types of eating disorders and treatment options available, people struggling with these disorders can get the help they need.

Rogers Memorial Hospital is the author of this article on Anoreixa Eating Disorder.
Find more information, about Bulimia Treatment here.

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