One of the most common eating disorders we’ve all come to know is anorexia. Most of those accounts portraying anorexia are focused on women and young girls. There are also other eating disorders we may not be aware of looking at someone directly. Other eating disorders are harder to see on the surface, whereas anorexia is characterized by deficient weight that causes the person affected to waste away before our very eyes.
Conditions like these hurt families, and they often feel confused and helpless because they are unaware there’s an issue half of the time. At Visions, our parents and loved ones must learn a little something about every mental health and emotional condition so they can be ready, with eyes wide open, to see the signs. We hope to prepare families everywhere to care for each other, even when the person hurting can’t express themselves in words at that moment.
Most people don’t realize that eating disorders don’t just affect women and girls, unlike what the media continues to show us. Eating disorders affect everyone, no matter their gender. It’s known that over 10 million men in the United States are affected by eating disorders; this number is half of women and girls affected, but the point is that women are not the only people that struggle with weight and body image.
Most Common Eating Disorders
As one of the leading, most common eating disorders, anorexia nervosa is a condition that begins with the complete cessation of eating or gaining any nutrition into the body at all. Adolescents affected by anorexia often lose weight rapidly to the point that it can cause serious health issues, possibly even death.
Symptoms of Anorexia
- Thinning hair
- Suicidal thoughts
- Social withdrawal
- Trouble with digestion
- Wearing baggy clothes
- Reduced periods in women
- Acute fatigue and insomnia
- Anxiety concerning weight gain
- Dehydration Jaundice (yellowed skin)
- Won’t eat in a group setting and often makeup excuses
Those affected by bulimia eat, but they won’t allow the food to digest in their system. You’ll notice them take frequent bathroom breaks to vomit up their food to avoid absorption of nutrients so they can avoid gaining any weight. Bulimia is a serious condition that could cause deterioration of the esophagus and other tissues in the body. Those with bulimia could suffer from seizures and irregular heart rhythm.
Symptoms of Bulimia
- Frequent mood changes
- Depression and anxiety
- Their breath will often have an obscure odor
- Dental deterioration
- Constipation or inflammation of the intestinal tract
- Dry skin
- Devour lots of food and excuse themselves
- Critical of body weight and shape
- Muscle cramping
- Social withdrawal
Binge Eating Disorder
People eat with binge eating disorders, and they will eat regularly, but these abnormal eating behaviors occur when they’re alone. Bulimics have periods where they won’t eat, fast, then eat a high amount of food in one sitting. Those with bulimia will often eat fast food alone and hop from one restaurant to another to eat in isolation.
Symptoms of Binge Disorder
- Lack of self-control
- Eating significant amounts of food and hiding food away
- Continually eating until it becomes uncomfortable
- Social withdrawal
- Weight gain
- Feeling guilty eating
- Excessive exercising
- Can binge eat and then vomit their foods
Body Image Disorder or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
A mental health condition that often comes from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder often comes from these disorders. It might be the case that your loved one started with a form of extreme dieting or became addicted to exercise, and this body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) manifested, or the other way around. These conditions work off one another.
At Visions, we work with our teens to help them realize the beauty within every one of them. If we’re aware of how our children feel about themselves and how we talk to them as a family or supportive unit, we might notice these changes in eating behaviors and their adverse effects. As always, pay attention and be attentive to your children. If your child or loved one develops an eating disorder, contact us today.