An eating disorder can affect both girls and boys, men and women. Psychological difficulties can manifest themselves in many different ways one of them can be the way that someone relates to food.
An Eating disorder is where there is a disturbance to way that someone normally relates to food, their weight and the way they view their physical body and appearance. It is important that someone suffering from an eating disorder is assessed by a medical professional as well as a psychological clinician as all aspects of eating disorders significantly impact the physical wellbeing of the person and carry severe risks to the body and can at times contrubute to death. A consultant psychiatrist who specialises in eating disorders will be able to assess both the psychial and psychological situation for a patient and can request that medical invesitigations are undertaken if appropriate. The three main eating disorders are:
Someone who is struggling with anorexia nervosa usually has a fear of increasing weight and at times a disgust of the idea of putting on weight. For many people suffering with anorexia they will fidn that they have started to restrict what they eat and their food intake becomes lower than it used to be. In addition to restricting food they also may be using laxatives, make themselves vomit or be exercising excessively. Anoreixa can have a major impact on the physical body as once the body finds itself starved of the required amount of food will start to take important and essential nutrients from the muscle groups in the body in order to be able to function. This leads to muscle wastage, the heart is a muscle and the body will take nutrients away from the heart which can lead to serious heart complications which is why it is important for anyone who has restricted their food intake for a period of time to be seen by a medical professional.
Thos struggling with bulimia nervosa often find themselves in a cycle of eating, often binge eating, followed by and feelings of shame and guilt fr what or the amount they have eaten and in order to control those negative feelings feel compelled to find a way of getting rid of the food they have just eaten which is often done through making themselves sick, the use of laxatives, excessive exercise or starving themselves for a period of time.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating is where the person eat vasts amounts of food in one go and will often have a feeling or sensation that they have lossed control over what they eat. TBinge eating disorder differs to bulimia nervosa as the majority of people struggling with binge eating disorder do not make themselves sick or use laxatives instead remain with the feelings of guilt and shame regarding the amount of food they have eaten. This can lead them to feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Families and eating disorders
Living with someone who has an eating disorder can become difficult for family members and it can be very confusing and frustrating to know how to help. Family members often have lots of questions in how best to help their loved one which is why there is often importance placed upon family interventions and often a referral to a family therapist can be benefical. If someone is admitted to hospital due to their eating disorder it can be helpful for the family to receive support in order to be able to focus on relapse prevention and know how best to cope as a family unit.