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Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
Because we live in a culture obsessed with thinness and dieting, it can be difficult to recognize when a person's thinking or behavior has become dangerous. You may know someone with an eating disorder. It could be your daughter, sister, mother, relative, friend or roommate. The person may try to hide it, but the focus of her everyday life revolves—obsessively—around food and weight. Some people try to starve themselves. Others binge and then try to undo their bingeing through some form of purging. Most people with eating disorders are in denial.
Eating disorders are very serious. They have an impact on both physical and mental health and left untreated, they can be fatal.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia (clinically known as anorexia nervosa) is self-imposed starvation. It is a serious, life-threatening disorder which usually stems from underlying emotional causes. Although people with anorexia are obsessed with food, they continually deny their hunger. Women with anorexia often limit or restrict other parts of their lives in addition to food—relationships, social activities or pleasure. Anorexia can cause serious medical problems and even lead to death.
Warning Signs of Anorexia
Here are some of the common warning signs that indicate that a person may be suffering from anorexia.
What is Bulimia?
Bulimia (clinically known as bulimia nervosa) is the repeated cycle of out-of-control eating followed by some form of purging. Bulimia is a serious eating disorder which can be fatal. The purging associated with bulimia may be self-induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, or obsessive exercising. Women with bulimia often feel out of control in other areas of their lives and may spend money excessively, abuse drugs or alcohol, or engage in chaotic relationships. Bulimia can have severe medical consequences including dental and esophageal problems, kidney damage, chemical imbalance and an overall loss of energy and vitality.
Warning Signs of Bulimia
Here are some of the common warning signs that a person may be suffering from bulimia.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder is more commonly referred to as compulsive overeating and can affect women or men, though it appears twice as often among women. People with binge eating disorder suffer from episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing followed by periods of guilt and depression. A binge is marked by the consumption of large amounts of food, sometimes accompanied by a pressured, "frenzied" feeling. Frequently, a compulsive overeater continues to eat even after she becomes uncomfortably full. Those identified as having Binge Eating Disorder generally do not purge. Although many who meet the criteria for this category are larger than average, many are of average size and weight. Binge eating can lead to serious medical problems including high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder
Here are some of the common warning signs that suggest a person may be suffering from binge eating disorder.
When & Where to Seek Help
If anyone you know (including yourself) is exhibiting the warning signs of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, it is important to seek professional counseling as soon as possible. If untreated, the disorder will become part of a destructive cycle which can continue for years and may eventually lead to death.