Understanding Eating disorders

 

Not a lot of people are familiar with eating disorders in Egypt and those who are familiar with it, never take it seriously.

Although most of us dream of the perfect shape and search for different ways to lose weight, eating disorders are actually a serious psychiatric illness, not just a regular distress about body weight or shape. They are characterized by irregular eating habits that have a devastating impact on your physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can develop at any age, but they are mostly significant during teen years. Although the exact reason for eating disorders is not known, it is believed that several factors can contribute to the development of this illness such as:

– Genetic factors: people with a history of eating disorder in a first-degree relative are at increased risk.
– Psychological factors such as low self-esteem and obsessive behavior.
– Environmental factors such as peer pressure and the unrealistic beauty standards in the media.

Types of Eating Disorders

  1. Anorexia Nervosa

    People who suffer from Anorexia are mostly underweight, but they never feel they are thin enough and they are never satisfied with their own weight or shape. Their obsessive fear of gaining weight may lead them to sometimes keep dieting till the point of starvation.

    Signs include:

    • Severe weight loss
    • Unrealistic body image
    • Avoid eating or missing meals
    • Obsession with counting calories and weigh
    • Dizziness and fainting
    • Dehydration
    • Dry skin and brittle nails

  2. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is a serious, even life-threatening illness. People with bulimia are often normal or overweight. Bulimics usually go through a vicious cycle of binging (rapid consumption of a large amount of food in a short amount of time) and purging (self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives) to compensate for the effects of what they have eaten.

Signs include:

  • Episodes of binge eating
  • Hiding food
  • Going to the bathroom after eating (for purging)
  • Damaged teeth
  • Depression and feeling ashamed

3. Binge-eating Disorder 

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of consuming a huge amount of food uncontrollably and till the point of discomfort. Unlike bulimia, these episodes of binging aren’t followed by purging or compensatory behaviors.

Signs include:

  • Weight gain
  • Eating rapidly and uncontrollably
  • Self-hatred and anxiety
  • Social isolation

Finally, the first step to recovery is admitting the problem and stepping out of the shame hole. If you suspect that you have an eating disorder, it’s never too late to seek out professional help and support from family and loved ones to guide you through your recovery journey.

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