Eating Disorders refers to a condition typified by abnormal eating habits which include excessive or inadequate intake of food affecting the physiological and mental well being of a person. The most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders are as follows:
Anorexia nervosa: People suffering from this disorder often avoid food and meals, eat small quantities and weigh their calorie intake for every meal. They sometimes exercise rigorously.
Bulimia nervosa: People suffering from this eat in excessive amount and make themselves vomit immediately after consuming the meal .They develop a fear of gaining weight and use laxatives to flush out the excess of calories from their bodies.
Binge-eating disorder: People with this disorder develop a habit of compulsive overeating. They prefer to eat alone and consume food quickly irrespective of their appetite.
Causes of eating disorders can be categorized into:
Some people suffer from genetic predisposition towards such ailments. In these people, disorders are hereditary and may occur at any stage in the entire lifetime.
Biochemical reasons: Eating pattern is governed by neuroendocrine system. Any irregularities in the system such as inappropriate transmission of neurotransmitters, secretion of certain hormones and amino acids may lead to eating disorders.
Increased levels of autoantibodies affect hormones controlling the appetite and stress pattern are directly related to irregularities in eating habits. Presence of lesions and tumors cause pathological condition of eating disorders.
The psychological state of depression or anxiety makes a person to eat excessively or insufficiently. Psychological ailments such as obsessive compulsive disorders, narcissistic personality disorder and like also contribute to the problem of abnormal eating habits.
Child maltreatment in the form of child abuse or substance abuse may lead to eating disorders in a child. Social isolation has a detrimental effect on a person’s well-being usually causing a loss of appetite.
Parental influence is a key factor in the development of eating patterns in children. Peer and cultural pressure of having a thin figure also forces people into taking insufficient diet.
In order to diagnose eating disorders, one should seek medical advice.