Identifying Possible Eating Disorders in Loved OnesIn recent decades, light has been shed on the signs, symptoms, and treatment for eating disorders. If you have a family member who you suspect has an eating disorder, it’s natural to want to learn as much as you can about these conditions. This blog is here to give you an idea of what you need to know about eating disorders and their causes. Eating disorders are a very complex and broad range of diseases that develop when an individual has a distorted relationship with food and eating. These disorders are more common in females and frequently manifest in the adolescent years or in very early adulthood. In most cases, sufferers will attempt to hide the signs of their illness for months or even years.
Types Of Eating DisordersThe feeding and eating disorders recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) include the following:
- Anorexia-Poor nutrition and food intake which results in the individual being underweight; can be binge-eating/purging type or the restricting type.
- Binge-Eating Disorder-Periodic states of eating large amounts of food without any precautionary behaviors to prevent weight gain such as purging. Sufferers often feel out of control and shameful about these binges.
- Bulimia-Periodic states of eating large amounts of food followed by precautionary behaviors to prevent weight gain like purging (i.e., self-induced vomiting).
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder– Previously called ‘Selective Eating Disorder’, entails extreme forms ‘picky eating’ or a limited range of preferred foods or refusal/disinterest in eating. This disorder does not necessarily come with body image issues.
- Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified-any feeding or eating disorder that causes significant distress in the sufferer’s life but does not meet the criteria of any other eating disorder
- Additional Conditions Include:Orthorexia, Rumination Disorder, Pica, Diabulimia, Compulsive Exercise etc.
How Eating Disorders DevelopEating disorders frequently develop during the tumultuous adolescent/early adulthood years, when an individual is struggling to form an identity and understand their position in the world. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) acknowledges four possible causes for these conditions.
- Biological factorshave some impact on whether an individual will develop an eating disorder. For example, some eating disorders run in families and have a genetic component. It is not at all uncommon to find an adolescent girl suffering from the same disorder as her mother once did.
- Psychological factorsthat influence eating disorders include co-existing disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Individuals may encounter high levels of stress, loneliness, and low self-esteem.
- Social factorsinfluence the development of eating disorders, as well. The portrayal of slim bodies or highly fit bodies as being “ideal” leads adolescents and young adults to develop an unhealthy body image.
- Interpersonal factorsmay consist of having rocky personal relationships in the past; having trouble expressing oneself or one’s emotions; experiences of bullying or teasing regarding body size or appearance; and/or a history of physical or sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence.
- Eating Disorders: Binge Eating
- Eating Disorders: Bulimia
- Eating Disorders: Treatments & Therapies
- Orthorexia: How Clean Eating Can Lead to a Dangerous Eating Disorder
- Anorexia: Dying to Be Thin
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