It is said that eating disorders are hugely misunderstood by the general public and even among healthcare professionals. Its symptoms and repercussions are most often undetected until the sufferer will reach a point when the health is imperiled and he/she is experiencing a near-fatal experience. Here are some information to help us better understand disorder so we may learn to cope or give more empathy to the sufferers.
1) Eating disorders can affect people of all ages.
Generally, we think that teens and women are the sufferers of eating disorder. However, lately, doctors have been receiving cases when children and middle aged men and women are having its symptoms, too.
2) Sufferers may be hard to be spotted as symptoms may not be that obvious.
You cannot easily tell who are suffering from bulimia and anorexia nervosa simply because the weight loss can be dramatic. Some binge eaters can also be overweight or may have gained some pounds.
3) Bulimia has a list of common symptoms that we can always watch out for.
Bulimia is a common eating disorder in which the sufferer binge on large amounts of food for fear of gaining weight. The sufferer may feel a loss of control over these binge-purging episodes and who may, further, feel these symptoms later on: persistent weight fluctuation, chronic dehydration, peptic ulcer and eating in secrecy.
4) Sufferers with anorexia, on the other hand, engaged in self-starvation as a consequence of excessive anxiety over weight gain.
Anorexia is a psychological problem that often resulted to a distorted self-image prompting the sufferer to opt for an extremely low body weight. To achieve the 'ideal' body weight, anorexic people are obsesses with calorie and fat content of food and are into chronic dieting despite abnormal weight loss.
5) Eating disorders are linked to a person's genetic makeup.
Studies said that the sufferer nor his/her family is to be blamed for the presence of an eating disorder as recent studies suggest that such disorders are prompted by the genes of an individual. If one has a close family member who suffers from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, there is a strong likelihood that the person may also suffer from the disorder in the future.
6) Environment and family background also play an important role in its development.
Not only genes but also how an individual is brought up also plays a significant role in the development of the eating disorder. Childhood experiences may affect our eating habits positively or negatively.
7) Some sufferers may be in denial of their problem.
Even if you call out a sufferer on their negative body transformation, there is a tendency that the latter may ignore or simply be in denial of your comments. In fact, some sufferers would say that you are just imagining things and there is nothing to worry about them.
8) The brain changes when one has abnormal eating habits.
Sufferers who are not feeding their bodies with the normal amount of sugar and calories will ultimately change the structure of their brains. It is said that the brain of sufferers undergoes an altered nutritional status that will further result into a 'brain change.' This brain change may bring about cognitive, psychological and emotional changes to the sufferer.
9) Other behaviors associated with eating disorders also affect the structure of the brain.
Some sufferers do getaway behaviors like over-exercising while in pursuit of their ideal body image. Over-exercising can also modify an individual's brain structure and function and may put the individual in a vulnerable position.
10) Full recovery on the sufferer's weight is the key.
To fight against all the symptoms and the bad effects of eating disorders, sufferers need to fully process his/her condition and completely heal. The healing process may result in a total weight restoration which may take place after years of therapy and treatment.
11) Not all sufferers want to get better and get healed.
Unfortunately, not all patients want to recover from their condition. Some would continue to deny or ignore the symptoms until their spirit is diminished. In this case, the role of parents and friends is necessary to uplift them and guide them to the most appropriate treatment options that, hopefully, can lead them to total recovery.