A lot of us turn to food for various reasons. Foods serve as an identification of culture, we eat when we are hungry, we eat when it calls for us to celebrate; celebrations could be in form of birthdays, anniversaries, our favourite hockey, rugby or football club won an impossible match and we’ve got cause to celebrate.
When eating begins to go overboard, there is a problem. You now turn them to comfort food when you don’t know how to express yourself or when you are sad. This results in what we call eating disorders. An eating disorder is more than food, it affects one’s mental and physical health and activity, your emotions and your being able to function in important aspects of your life.
The eating disorder occurs when you obsess over your body weight, shape or food. It isn’t particular which sex/gender is most affected, but it’s mostly among teens and young women. The causes are not clear, though environmental, biological and lifestyle factors contribute to eating disorders.
Eating disorder has existed for a long time but it was officially diagnosed and treated as a medical condition in England in the 1860s. Historical documentation shows that Dr Richard Morton of London described his twenty-year-old patient in 1656 as a ‘’skeleton clad with skin.’’ Louis -Victor Marce is widely known for describing a similar patient in 1859.
Now that we know what eating disorder stands for and some causes, let's take a look at the various types.
Types of Eating Disorder
It is stated that eating disorder affects at least 9% of the global population, and the economic cost of eating disorder is $64.7billion each year. Let’s take a look at the common and dangerous types of eating disorders.
1. Bulimia Nervosa: Artists falling off stage was never a thing until recently. When K-pop star IU came out about her battle with eating disorder and anxiety, she mentioned that she began binge-eating when she was anxious and she would eat and sleep between puking. That type of eating disorder is known as bulimia nervosa, characterised by excessive concern with body weight and shape. Research conducted by the National Eating Disorder Association found out that up to 30million people suffer from eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia nervosa.
2. Pica: People who are diagnosed with pica are likely to consume unhealthy and non-nutritive substances like hair, soap, faeces, flakes of dried paint, pieces of metal, ice and/or dirt. This disorder leads to grave consequences such as lead poisoning. It is also said that people who possess an intellectual disability.
3. Rumination Disorder Syndrome: This is characterised by people unintentionally regurgitating undigested food from the stomach, rechew it, and then either rechew it or spit it out.
4. Anorexia Nervosa: This is a life-threatening eating disorder characterized by frequent eating restrictions associated with psychological and social problems. It is connected with both genders.
5. Night Eating Syndrome: Individuals with this syndrome are often binge eaters. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it was originally described by Dr Albert Stunkard in 1955 and affects 1.5% of the population and common in men and women. Most times, people who have this syndrome have a history of early substance abuse and suffer from depression. They also have sleep disorders. People with NES often eat at night because they believe that it will improve sleep or help them fall back to sleep.
6. Avoidant/restrictive food intake: Also known as extreme picky eating often results in nutrition and energy deficiencies and for children to gain weight. ARFID is mostly common in infants and children with some cases persisting into adulthood.
Effects of Eating Disorder
1. it leads to an array of physical effects like Type II diabetes, pancreatitis, heart problem, dehydration and malnutrition.
2. It affects a person’s mental health and activity and causes psychological troubles like anxiety, self-harm. Social isolation to mention just a few.
3. The individual has difficulty concentrating
Importance of Eating Disorder Awareness
Now that we have covered the basic knowledge of eating disorder, its types and effects on people, we also need to know the importance of eating disorder. They include:
1. It facilitates people to open up about their struggles. When they have a support group, they can share what they care about going through and they become aware of certain activities not to indulge in.
2. It helps curb people feeling shameful and guilty about their bodies.
3. Everyone is given space and opportunity to express himself or herself.
4. People are enlightened about how this certain activity affects their health and those around them.