What is an eating disorder? Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are the three most common eating disorders. Someone with anorexia has an intense fear of gaining weight and typically has lost 15% of their original body weight. They have a distorted body image and often engage in intense and excessive exercise. Women may experience an interruption in their menstrual cycle due to weight loss and inadequate nutrition. They may experience hunger but feel in control when they resist the urge to eat. Someone with bulimia typically engages in binge eating-eating large portions of food at one sitting, often in response to emotional, environmental stressors or dieting. These episodes are often characterized by a feeling of being out of control of their eating. Sometimes they purge after binging to alleviate the discomfort and guild created by food intake. Those with binge eating tend to eat more than what is needed to maintain a healthy body. Generally they eat in response to emotional or environmental stressors as well as responding to intense hunger from deprivation and dieting. They have usually dieted repeatedly in the past and have experienced shame about food and body. They feel discouraged and view their ability to handle their problems as inadequate. All of these eating disorders are serious health problems, perhaps life threatening, and can benefit from professional treatment. One of the most underreported problems with eating disorders is the disruption of electrolytes that fire in the central nervous system. This can lead to heart failure. Purging causes esophagus to become ulcerated. Anorexia can lead to infertility.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, here are some referrals that will assist you.
National Eating Disorders Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. www.anred.com
Eating Disorder Referral and Information www.edreferral.com
Anorexia Bulimia Association, Inc. www.aabainc.org