Regardless of type, an eating disorder generates a variety of challenges when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing the problem is often the most difficult but most important first step.
An eating disorder can affect any gender, race or age. In fact, men account for 25 percent of disordered eating cases.
Another misconception is that only people with low weight can be diagnosed with an eating disorder. The truth is that people who are overweight or obese can also develop an eating disorder and its associated consequences on health and lifestyle.
Signs of an eating disorder
The following are the most common physical signs of an eating disorder:
- Significant fluctuations in weight.
- Stomach pain and pain.
- Changes in bowel habits.
- Menstrual cycle irregularity.
- Feeling dizzy, weak and/or tired.
- Changes in skin and hair (such as being dry and brittle).
The emotional signs of an eating disorder include the following:
- Be concerned about weight, food, diet, calories and carbohydrates, to the point that eating and controlling weight become the main concern of other activities.
- Be concerned about body image, body size/shape, a specific part of the body and/or number on the scale.
- Significantly limit the food repertoire by restricting whole categories of food and considering only a very small amount of safe foods to eat.
What to do and what not to do?
If you recognize some warning signs on yourself or a loved one, consider the following recommendations:
Early intervention is associated with the best results. Once disordered eating becomes entrenched in a person's daily life, it is much harder to address. In fact, the patient can deny that it is causing problems. Patients with bulimia or anorexia often refuse to recognize that they need help.
Do not let an overwhelming fear of gaining weight hold you back.
Most people with anorexia fear that receiving treatment means they have to start eating normally, which will result in weight gain and a variety of horrible perceived consequences.
Do not ignore the problem and expect it to disappear.
Messy food is a frightening and disturbing topic for most people; that's why it's important not to think that it's just something that will happen; That strategy does not work and can delay an effective treatment.
Do not give up!
Do what you can to encourage someone with a possible eating disorder to seek professional help. You can track appointments, as well as milestones related to treatment and recovery.
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