Eating Disorders, what’s behind it?
Everybody has to deal and to worry about food every day. To survive we must eat. We need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty and amino acids, so that our body can fulfil its functions and that we remain healthy and efficient.
Anyhow, most of the people do not deal with food, calories and their weight fluctuations. This is quite different for people with eating disorders: the whole day revolves around eating or not-eating, calorie counting, weight loss or grumbling over weight gain, vomiting or other compensatory measures, e.g. excessive sport.
People with eating disorders try to hide themselves and their bodies as well as the problems surrounding their eating behavior in front of society. This requires a lot of discipline and organization, even if most of happens subconsciously. Many patients also succeed in convincing themselves every day that their eating habits are safe and healthy.
The constant mental and emotional engagement with food takes up more and more space in the life of the concerned person, until there is nothing left of the one behind it, even in the truest sense of the word.
Predominantly women and girls are affected by eating disorders, but figures of men and boys are increasing every year too. It is estimated that today every third girl’s eating behavior is at least noticeable.
Causes of eating disorders are very versatile. From a false and negative self-image, about insecurity, trauma (in childhood or later), depression and other neurological disorders, perfectionism, unhealthy beauty ideals and familial addiction problems, almost everything can favor and trigger an eating disorder.
The symptoms of disease and their symptoms are just as different:
- Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a deliberate and self-induced weight loss. Through starvation and calorie counting, attempts are made to feed the body with as little food as possible. Additionally, by physical activities the energy consumption is increased and should support the loss of weight. The affected person feels too fat, even with an extreme underweight.
- Sports addiction (anorexia athletica): through excessive exercices and the associated high energy consumption, the sufferers try to lose weight. It is often observed as an additional disorder accompanying the primarily eating disorder.
- Ezinectomy (bulimia nervosa): those affected have usually a normal weight, but are very afraid of weight gain and therefore take unhealthy measures such as vomiting, excessive sport, use laxative, or fasting. Due to stress and considerable deficiencies, eating attacks occur. Overeating and vomiting (or other counter-measures) are often felt to be relaxing.
- Binge Eating Disorder: Eating attacks occur sporadically as addictive, emotionally induced hot-hunger attacks, in which unusually large amounts of food are absorbed in a very short time. People who are affected regularly lose control over their food intake but not all the time.
- Eating addiction: addicts eat compulsively and think of food and the consequences for their body all the time. They either eat too much or they try to control their weight with unsuitable diets, which usually result in a further weight gain. Eating addiction therefore very often leads to obesity.
All diseases have one thing in common: eating disorders have psychological causes that manifest themselves physically. Eating disorders are, therefore, very serious psychosomatic illnesses, which can lead, untreated, to serious health and even life-threatening problems.
Because of their addictive character, those affected cannot simply stop their sick eating habits, no matter how much they like it.
Eating disorders are all therapeutic: only when the cause is found and treated, eating disorders can heal and the affected can control them.
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