Learning About Eating Disorders(EDs)
What is that? Never heard of any such disorder.
Being acquainted with various other types of disorders, I am here to shed light on this commonly ignored disorder known as an eating disorder.
This disorder is a persistent disturbance in eating behavior and is accompanied by distressing thoughts and emotions that eventually lead to physical, psychological, and social misfunctioning.
Types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, other specified feeding and eating disorder, pica, and rumination disorder.
The popular Netflix series Never Have I Ever very skilfully depicts a case of Anorexia, an eating disorder, through the character of Aneesa.
Aneesa had to change her school because of this disorder. Eating disorders were rarely discussed in programmes until this decade since they were not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until the 1980s.
In an interview with Spoon University, Chelsea Kronengold — program manager of the National Eating Disorder Association — suggests that media can play a crucial role in eating disorder depiction, so long as all aspects of the illness, not just the specific behaviors, are covered.
Depending on the type of eating disorder, there are various symptoms. The three most prevalent eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Body types and sizes can vary greatly among those with eating problems.
Anorexia, commonly known as anorexia nervosa, is a serious eating illness that can have fatal consequences. It comprises an unhealthily low body weight, a strong fear of gaining weight, and an unrealistic perspective on weight and shape. Extreme measures are frequently taken to manage weight and shape in anorexia, and these measures frequently adversely compromise one’s health and daily functioning.
Anessa in Never Have I Ever confides in Devi and her two friends, stating that the only thing she was complimented for at her old school was “being skinny” — not her soccer skills, academic prowess, or overall “coolness” that her new classmates are so drawn to.
Focusing on the emotional and physical effects of the condition, such as but not limited to broken friendships and isolation, dread and depression, and medical issues, can effectively and ethically portray eating disorders.
Bulimia, commonly known as bulimia nervosa, is a severe eating condition that can occasionally be fatal. Episodes of bingeing and purging are frequent outcomes of bulimia. Bulimia can occasionally involve persistently drastically restricting one’s food intake. This frequently triggers stronger cravings to binge eat followed by purging.
Kate’s Secret shows a mother’s struggles with bulimia, breaking away from the teenage girl stereotype and showing that the issue does not affect only young people but of any age. Disorders don’t come by age but by certain deficiencies and psychological conditions.
Although Kate’s life seems ideal from the outside, she is actually having difficulties. Although it can be a little overly theatrical at times, there are some unsettling sequences of binge eating that show the feeling of being “out of control.”
When someone binges, they consume food in a short period of time, perhaps in an exceptionally high quantity. People who binge experience a sense of powerlessness over their food and an inability to quit. Purging is done to burn off calories after eating because of guilt, humiliation, or a severe fear of gaining weight.
Vomiting, excessive exercise, going without food for a while, or adopting other techniques, including taking laxatives, are all examples of purging. To try to lose weight, some people alter their medication dosages, such as the insulin they take.
A person with a binge-eating disorder consumes large quantities of food quickly. It seems as though there is no control over eating during bingeing. However, purging does not occur after binge eating. People may consume more food than they intended to during a binge. Eating may continue long after feeling uncomfortable full, even when one is not hungry.
Persuading a loved one to get help
Many sufferers of eating problems might not believe they require treatment. The inability to recognise how bad the symptoms are is one of the key characteristics of many eating disorders. Shame and guilt are further barriers to seeking assistance.
Signs of worry that may point towards a eating disorder include:
- Skipping meals or snacks or making excuses for not eating.
- Having a very limited diet that hasn’t been prescribed by a trained medical professional.
- Too much focus on food or healthy eating, especially if it means not participating in usual events, such as sports banquets, eating birthday cake or dining out.
- Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats.
- Withdrawing from usual social activities.
- Frequent and ongoing worry or complaints about being unhealthy or overweight and talk of losing weight.
- Frequent checking in the mirror for what are thought to be flaws.
- Repeatedly eating large amounts of foods.
- Using dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss.
- Exercising much more than the average person. This includes not taking rest days or days off for injury or illness or refusing to attend social events or other life events because of wanting to exercise.
- Calluses on the knuckles from reaching fingers into the mouth to cause vomiting.
- Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting.
- Leaving during meals or right after a meal to use the toilet.
- Talk of depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits.
- Eating in secret.
It is unknown what exactly causes eating problems. Similar to other mental illnesses, there may be a variety of causes, including:
Genetics. Genes may have a role in some people’s increased risk of developing eating disorders.
Biology. Eating disorders may be influenced by biological factors, such as alterations in brain chemistry.
# Aneesa and Kate serves as a reminder that rehabilitation is possible despite the difficulties and obstacles that come with mental illness every day.
[Agrita Chhibber is from Jammu]
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