Eating Disorders: The Causes and Treatment Options

February 27th, 2009 § 0

Eating Disorders

Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa are two most known types of eating disorders, which occur rather frequently and prevail in females (over 80% of occurrence).  Anorexia can be diagnosed in the situations, when patients have strong tendencies to self-starvation and refuse to eat in normal amounts. Bulimia is a disease, when an individual lives repeated incidents of purging the food out of the body by causing vomiting or opening the bowels, followed by random attacks of binge-eating and starvation.

Specialists suppose that the causes of both disorders can involve a combination of the following factors. Those are: (1) biological factors, which include genetic predisposition to developing these disorders; (2) psychological factors, which include low self-esteem, problems with self-control, depressiveness, obsessive compulsive or other personality disorders, etc.; (3) socio-cultural factors, which include the tendency to promote thinness in our media, overload of the media with images of thin celebrities as models of success, etc.

The consequences of both disorders can be rather serious and even life-threatening. People with Anorexia are under high risks of receiving heart disease, as well as having hormonal changes, infertility, amenorrhea, nerve and brain damage, problems with kidneys, lungs and digestion (bloating, etc.), mental disorders, etc. Those who suffer from Bulimia usually develop problems with teeth, gums and mouth, gastrointestinal problems, electrolyte abnormalities and cardiovascular problems, low level of potassium, and a drug problem.

Treatment for both Anorexia and Bulimia usually includes a combination of the following options: (1) medical care and medications, i.e. consultations with doctors, taking antidepressants, etc.; (2) psychotherapy and counseling, i.e. cognitive behavior therapy, individual or family counseling, etc.; (3) nutritional therapy and nutritional education, i.e. consultations with a dietitian, forced nutrition (nasogastric tube – in severe cases of Anorexia); (4) hospitalization (in severe cases of Anorexia).

It is very important to raise public awareness about the causes, symptoms and dangers connected with Anorexia, Bulimia and other eating disorders. Specialists underline that these disprders are connected with a very high mortailty rate, and only 30-40% of people who suffer from Anorexia are able to fully recover in the future. That is why it is necessary to inform people, especially teenagers and youth, about all dangers and side effects of this terribel problem.

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