What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are serious conditions associated with persistent eating behaviors that adversely affect overall health, emotions, and ability to function in important areas of life. Common eating disorders; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice or a diet that ‘goes too far’.

In most eating disorders, there is too much focus on weight, body shape, and foods eaten, leading to dangerous eating behaviors. These behaviors can significantly affect the body’s ability to receive proper nutrition. Eating disorders can damage the heart, digestive system, bones, teeth and mouth and cause other diseases.

Eating disorders usually develop during adolescence and young adulthood, but can occur at other ages. With treatment, you can return to healthier eating habits.

What are Eating Disorders?

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight or shape. People with anorexia make excessive efforts to control their weight and shape, which often seriously affects their health and life activities.

In anorexia nervosa, calories are severely restricted or exercised excessively, use laxatives, or other methods of weight loss, such as vomiting after eating. A constant effort is made to reduce the current weight, leading to significant health problems, sometimes to the point of starvation.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

bulimia; It is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. When you have bulimia, you have episodes of binge eating and vomiting, which include feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict eating during the day, often causing more binge eating and vomiting.

During these attacks, you usually eat a large amount of food in a short time and then try to get rid of the excess calories in an unhealthy way. You may force yourself to throw up or exercise too much because of guilt, shame, and fear of gaining too much weight from overeating. You can also use other methods such as laxatives to get rid of calories.

If you have bulimia nervosa, there is likely to be a significant preoccupation with weight and body shape, and the person may judge themselves severely and harshly for self-perceived flaws.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

In binge eating disorder, you regularly eat too much (binge eating) and feel a lack of control over the food you eat. You can eat quickly or more than you desire even when you are not hungry, and continue to eat even after you are uncomfortably full.

After binge eating, you may feel guilt, disgust, or shame because of your behavior and the amount of food you eat. However, excessive exercise or vomiting does not attempt to compensate for this behavior, as someone with bulimia or anorexia might. Shame can lead to eating alone to hide overeating.

A new binge cycle usually occurs at least once a week. It can be seen in people who are normal, overweight or obese.

What is Rumination (Removal – Rumination) Disorder?

If you vomit repeatedly and persistently after eating, but the disorder is not caused by a medical condition or another eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. Swallowed food can be chewed again, then swallowed again or spit out.

If food is spat out or the person eats significantly less to prevent the behavior, the disorder can result in malnutrition. The occurrence of rumination disorder may be more common in infancy or in people with intellectual disabilities.

What is Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?

This disorder is manifested by the inability to meet your minimum daily nutritional needs because you have no interest in eating; you avoid foods with certain sensory characteristics, such as color, texture, smell or taste; or you may worry about the consequences of eating, such as fear of choking. Eating avoidance behavior is not observed due to the fear of gaining weight.

The disorder can cause significant childhood weight loss or failure to gain weight, as well as nutritional deficiencies that can cause health problems.

What Are the Symptoms of Eating Disorders?

It’s not always easy to tell if someone has an eating disorder because it’s common to try to hide the condition out of shame or guilt. However, some of the behaviors associated with eating disorders include:

  • Diet: This could mean counting calories, fasting, skipping meals, avoiding certain food groups, or engaging in obsessive eating rituals.
  • Cleaning : Vomiting or using laxatives to remove food from the body. People who are purified usually go to the toilet while eating or after a meal.
  • extreme exercise: The person may refuse to break his exercise routine for any reason, insist on doing a certain number of repetitive exercises, or experience distress if he is unable to exercise.
  • social withdrawal: The person may avoid social events and situations that involve eating, or may prefer to eat alone.
  • body image: The person can focus on the shape and weight of his body.
  • Change in clothing style: The person may start to wear loose clothing, for example.

Important symptoms that may indicate an eating disorder may include some of the following:

  • Making excuses to skip meals or not eat
  • Excessive focus on healthy eating
  • Making your own food instead of eating what the family eats
  • Constantly worrying about being fat, complaining, and talking about losing weight
  • Frequent checks in the mirror for detected defects
  • Eating large amounts of sweet or high-fat foods repeatedly
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Problems with the loss of tooth enamel, which can be a sign of repeated vomiting
  • Leaving to use the toilet during meals
  • Eating much more than is considered normal at a meal or snack
  • eat in secret

Causes of Eating Disorder

Although eating disorders are all common food and weight issues, there are opinions that eating disorders are caused by people trying to cope with overwhelming and painful emotions by controlling food. Unfortunately, this will ultimately harm a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of control.

  • Genetic: People with a first-degree relative with an eating disorder have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder.
  • social environment : Cultural pressures that idealize a particular body type place excessive pressure on people to reach unrealistic standards. Popular culture and media images often attribute thinness (for women) or muscularity (for men) to popularity, success, beauty and happiness.
  • peer bullying : In young people this can be a very powerful force. Because of size or weight, pressure may appear in the form of teasing, bullying, or teasing. A history of physical or sexual abuse may also contribute to some people developing an eating disorder.
  • emotional health: Perfectionism, impulsive behavior, and difficult relationships can all contribute to lowering a person’s self-esteem and make them vulnerable to developing eating disorders.

What Are the Possible Consequences of Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders cause a wide variety of complications, some of which are life-threatening. The more severe or longer the eating disorder lasts, the more likely it is to experience major complications such as:

  • serious health problems
  • depression and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Problems with growth and development
  • Social and relationship issues
  • Substance use disorders
  • Work and school problems

exp. Clinical Psychologist Ömer Küçük

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