Eating disorders are serious and potentially fatal mental illnesses, and effect around 1.6 million people in the UK. If left untreated, they can impact your daily life and make you seriously ill, leading to health issues such as heart and kidney problems or even death. They can involve eating too much or too little or obsessing over your weight or body shape.
Whilst eating disorders can affect anyone and any time, they are typically more common in women and usually arise during teenage years or young adulthood.
There are three common types of eating disorders:
Binge-eating: those who suffer from this type of disorder experience out of control eating. They keep consuming until they feel uncomfortably full, then typically feel guilt, shame and distress.
Bulimia Nervosa: this involves periods of binging followed by a purge of vomiting or using laxatives.
Anorexia Nervosa: those who have anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food or eat really small amounts of only certain foods. They can see themselves as overweight despite being dangerously underweight. It is the least common of the three eating disorders, but has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.
Eating disorders have a range of symptoms including:
- spending a lot of time worrying about weight or body shape
- avoiding events or situations when you think food will be involved
- consuming very little food
- making yourself sick or taking laxatives after you eat
- exercising too much
- strict routines around food
- changes in mood
- feeling cold, tired or dizzy
- digestive problems
- unhealthy weight
- lack of period in females
So what causes eating disorders?
Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes them, but there are some things that may be factors. These include:
- your own or family history of similar disorders, depression or substance abuse
- you’ve been criticised for what you eat, your body or your weight
- pressure from society or your job to look a certain way
- suffering from anxiety, low self-esteem, an obsessive personality or perfectionist tendencies
- history of sexual abuse
You can recover from disorders like this – it takes time and is different for everyone. Treatment differs depending on the type of disorder, but it typically involves talking therapy.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, get in touch with Dalton Wise today.
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