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Eating Disorders: Dangerous Mental Illnesses

Womens Health > Eating Disorders: Dangerous Mental Illnesses

Eating disorders are disorders of the normal eating routine. People suffering from eating disorders, eat to an abnormal excess (Bulimia Nervosa) or diet to extremes (Anorexia Nervosa). Although these disorders are related to eating and body weight, but they are mental illnesses arising from emotional, behavioral, and social issues. People with these disorders make use of food and dieting to deal with intense feelings. To some people, food appears to be a source of comfort; it controls or eases off their stress. To others, dieting too much to lose weight becomes a way to acquire acceptance by friends and family.

Eating disorders are quite common; between 5 to 10% of people suffer from them. Moreover, about 90% of sufferers of this problem are women, usually girls between age of 12 and 25 years. These women have a low self-esteem and suffer from feelings of helplessness and triviality.

Eating disorders are of various types, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). All these disorders are psychiatric problems. People suffering from bulimia nervosa eat exceptionally large amounts of food (up to 20,000 calories per meal). They then feel guilty or shameful so try to chuck out the excess calories by vomiting, using diuretics, purgatives, by taking enemas and exercising or fasting too much. On the other hand, suffers of Anorexia nervosa consider themselves fat even when they are emaciated and deliberately starve themselves or exercise to extreme in a unremitting pursuit to slim down and lose 15 to 60 percent of their body weight.

A number of events can trigger eating disorders. Triggers can be as trivial as a humiliating comment or as distressing as rape. Onset of puberty, marriage, divorce, or separation may also provoke these problems.

Like other medical problems, eating disorders require proper medical treatment. If left untreated, they can cause various health concerns including, disturbances in heart’s rhythm, menstrual problems, infertility, severely low blood pressure and body temperature, osteoporosis, dehydration etc.

Womens Health > Eating Disorders: Dangerous Mental Illnesses