What is eating disorder in medical terms?
An eating disorder is a serious mental health condition that affects the way you think and eat. The symptoms may be mild or severe, but they can lead to serious medical problems and even death.
Eating disorders are characterized by extreme thoughts about food and your body, as well as behaviors that interfere with healthy eating habits. They can cause dangerous complications, including heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
What are the most common eating disorders?
The most common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Each type of eating disorder has specific symptom patterns that are outlined by the American Psychiatric Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes you to limit or avoid eating certain foods because they make you feel bad about yourself, even if you’re not hungry. You may also have distorted body image and an obsession with weight loss.
You’ll need treatment to overcome these symptoms and get your eating habits back on track. Your healthcare provider may recommend counseling, medications or a combination of both.
Binge-eating disorder is a type of eating disorder that involves repeated episodes of uncontrolled and often unhealthy eating. It usually starts in childhood and can last into adulthood, but it can occur at any age. People with binge-eating disorder may eat large amounts of food in a short amount of time and then try to “purge” themselves by vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics or engaging in excessive exercise.
Bulimia nervosa is another type of eating disorder that consists of binge-eating followed by compensatory behaviors, such as purging, to “undo” the effects of the binge. These include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics, or excessive exercise.
Some people with bulimia nervosa develop bradycardia, which means their heart rate is slow and irregular. This can cause heart problems and even increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.
What are the most common treatments for eating disorders?
Depending on the type of eating disorder you have, your healthcare provider may suggest behavioral therapy, medication, and/or a surgical procedure to help you heal. If your eating disorder is severe, you might need to go to a hospital or a residential treatment facility.
A doctor or a counselor might also suggest nutrition counseling to teach you how to eat properly. A dietitian will create a meal plan that provides you with the right amount of calories and nutrients to maintain a healthy weight.
You might need to change your lifestyle, too, such as changing the foods you eat or exercising more regularly. A physical therapist may help you find ways to change your exercise routine, or a psychologist might work with you to reduce stress and anxiety over your eating habits.
What is the difference between anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa andbulimia nervosa are different from other mental illnesses. Those with anorexia are focused on a distorted perception of their bodies, while those with bulimia focus on the fear of gaining weight and losing control over their eating.