What is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is a compulsive behavior that controls your life and also limits your freedom to eat in a healthy normal way. An eating disorder is marked by extremes, such as extreme dieting, extreme overeating, or extreme distress and concern about body weight or shape.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN GROUPS OF EATING DISORDERS:
An addiction to dieting or self starvation. This is an extremely dangerous condition in which people can literally starve themselves to death. This disorder is driven by a overpowering fear of weight gain and a distorted body image. This condition are many times used to gain some “control” in a chaotic life. People who suffer from this condition are often characterized as perfectionists who love to please others and are overly critical of themselves.
A pattern of powerful, and often secret, binge eating (quickly eating large amounts of high-calorie, sugary, fatty foods). The eating binge usually is followed by purging (removing the food eaten during the binge- by using laxatives, diuretics, self-induced vomiting, compulsive exercise, or starvation). The person suffering from bulimia are usually overly concerned with food, body weight and shape.
This behavior is many times also used by people suffering from Anorexia.
BINGE EATING DISORDER:
This resembles the binge in bulimia (which may or may not be done secretly) or “grazing” (constant eating) over a few hours until the person is uncomfortably full. However, the binge is not followed by purging so causes extreme weight gain.
This usually is done to escape or deaden unwelcome emotions like anger, inadequacy, embarrassment, fear, loneliness, or boredom.
WHY DO EATING DISORDERS OCCUR?
Many professionals believe that our society and the media’s obsession with weight plays a huge role to reinforce the practice of eating disorders.
Others believe that certain issues such as dysfunctional families, controlling relationships, illness, death of a loved one, divorce, sexual abuse and physical abuse may trigger eating disordered behaviors.
Research also shows that physical or hereditary factors play a part in eating disorders, so some people might have inherited a predisposition to having an eating disorder.
However, everyone seems to agree that eating disorders are complex. It’s not an isolated incident that causes an eating disorder, but rather a combination of factors. From my own experience I have to agree with this.