In a recent article, we looked at several risk factors for eating disorders, including starvation, stress, and overeating. While we can’t directly blame starvation for causing eating disorders, this can have a direct impact on the brain, influencing mood changes, rigid thinking patterns, and reduced appetite. Starvation may actually be more responsible for the development of eating disorders than many people believe, as it changes the way the brain processes food, resulting in the perpetuation of unhealthy eating habits.
People who are involved in artistic or athletic pursuits are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders. These groups are dominated by a culture that equates muscle mass with success. Even those who don’t have a history of eating disorders may be vulnerable to social pressure to lose weight or appear skinny. The pressure of peers is particularly powerful, especially on young people. Peer pressure can also cause teens to engage in unhealthy eating patterns. Some studies suggest that sexual or physical abuse, or difficult relationships can trigger eating disorders.
Several medical treatments are available for eating disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy can change behaviors around food and body weight. Family-based treatment approaches consider the entire family as part of the problem and offer counseling and support groups to help patients and their families cope. The healthcare team will provide the necessary monitoring, testing, and counseling. If necessary, medication can also be prescribed. In the meantime, treatment will depend on the patient’s symptoms and the severity of the disorder.
Eating disorders have a high chance of being treated, but it is not easy. The disorder is difficult to treat, but with dedication and determination, recovery is possible. If the patient dedicates themselves to a new relationship with food, the underlying issues that led to the disorder can be resolved. However, it is important to treat eating disorders early in order to limit their impact on a person’s life.
Eating disorders are complex conditions, with a variety of possible causes. However, the common denominator is loss of control over food. Binge eaters consume large amounts of food in short intervals, without purging or burning excess calories through exercise. They may experience guilt and shame, and they may even develop depression as a result. In addition to the physical and emotional aspects of an eating disorder, people with these disorders may suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or a mental health co-morbidity. Therefore, treatment for eating disorders should also address these other conditions.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect a person’s relationship to food and body image. They affect approximately 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States, and can affect people of any age, race, socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. The symptoms of eating disorders vary with the cause of the disorder, but there is no clear answer. The most common form of eating disorder is anorexia.