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Eating Disorders

Anorexia

Anorexia tends to develop into a behavioral disorder as well, resulting in several habitual and recognizable patterns. People with the disease become socially withdrawn and tend to not have the same social or professional activity levels they had before their disease.  Eating behaviors take place, including making irrational food rules. Some rituals may take place regarding meal eating including how many bites one should take, or how many chews you should have with each bite of food. 

Food-phobia may also develop, causing an anorexic person to have serious phobic reactions to eating. Laxatives or diuretics may be another part of an anorexic person's routine that can lead to excessive malnutrition. Vomiting, often associated with bulimia, can also occur with anorexic behavior.

 Treatment for anorexia tends to be long term and multi-varied in its approach. A person with anorexia is typically given some physical medication or monitoring coupled with psychotherapy. These treatments need to be followed stringently in order for the anorexia to be treated effectively. Since many people with the disease want to hide the fact of their anorexia, it may be difficult to coax someone to seek treatment. The best thing that a person with anorexia can hope to have is a strong support system from friends and family that can help them through their treatments and help them avoid the potentially life-threatening side effects of the disease.

Bulimia

Bulimia, medically known as bulimia nervosa, is a psychological disorder that focuses on eating. A person who has bulimia binge eats and then follows each eating occurrence with some way to either rid the body of the food or get rid of the potential weight gain. 

People with bulimia often engage in vomiting shortly after eating because they do not want the food to add to their weight gain.  Bulimics may also excessively use laxative, enemas, diuretics, medication, fasting, and over-exercising in order to keep off their weight gain. Unlike anorexia, bulimia typically does not result in a gaunt physical appearance.
 
A person with bulimia is typically characterized by an incessant need to binge eat. This binge-eating desire may even increase while the person is eating. A person who binge-eats consumes much more than a normal portion of food at one sitting. This behavior is usually repeated multiple times a week. When binge eating is coupled with the desire to get rid of (purge) the eaten food in some way it is considered bulimia.

Bulimics expel their food because they are highly concerned with body image. Most bulimics are 10 to 25 year old females though it has also been seen in many other age types and in men as well.

A person with bulimia feels out of control during their binging and purging episodes.  They feel that they can't stop eating, nor can they prevent themselves from purging. The binging often only stops because of another person or some physical ailment that prevents further eating. 

Bulimia may occur as infrequently as once every couple of months to every day episodes.  Many bulimics tend to try to hide their problem from other people and may withdraw socially. Bulimics can appear to have normal eating habits while hiding their vomiting episodes from friends and family.

Bulimia results in several physical and psychological problems for the sufferer. Many bulimics experience teeth erosion and excessive cavities from vomiting and binging.  Bulimics tend to have periods of malnutrition and stomach problems as well. Serious bulimia can result in irreversible side effects that can lead to death.

Eating disorders have a higher death rate than cancer in the US and are a very serious problem for sufferers. Treatment for bulimia is helpful and has led to a decrease in treated patients.

Bulimia treatment includes psychological therapy, nutritional and food related advice and monitoring, and sometimes prescription drugs. If the bulimia is present with other medical diseases longer or prolonged treatments may be necessary.

The important factor in treating bulimia is for the sufferer to have a great amount of support from friends and family members. Diagnosing bulimia early on is also a vital factor in quick and complete recovery.

Binge Eating

Binge eating is characterized by overeating, but in such quantities at one sitting that it is apparent that some abnormality is taking place. Binge eaters can consume as much as 20,000 calories in one sitting. Most binge eaters consume large amounts of so-called "comfort food,"? food that is high in calories and usually sweet, like cookies or other desserts. Binge eating is a disorder because the person who suffers from it cannot seem to control their behavior.

Many binge eating episodes are linked with other disorders like bulimia or anorexia, or the binge eating disorder may occur on its own. Many binge eaters follow their episodes with a purging incident, or other type of behavior meant to compensate for the excessive food intake. Binge eaters are usually embarrassed by their behavior and hide it from friends and family.

Some binge eating may occur that is fairly harmless and rare. When binge eating takes place frequently, it is then most likely a sign that it is an eating disorder. People who have binge eating disorder experience eating episodes that they cannot seem to control.  They eat very large amounts of food at one sitting. Binge eaters consume such a large amount of food that they feel sick or uncomfortable afterward and may continue eating while not even hungry.

Binge eating is the most common eating disorder. Eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of any disorders or medical illnesses. While most binge eaters are overweight, there are many incidents of normal weight people binge eating as well.  Binge eating is very common in people who are morbidly obese, or over 100 pounds overweight.

People with binge eating disorder are usually very concerned with their weight, but seem to be unable to stop eating to control it. Women are more affected by binge eating than men, but it seems to be a disorder that cuts across ethnic lines at a fairly consistent rate.  Binge eaters also tend to have a higher rate of weight loss and gain over their lifetime than other people.

Causes of binge eating are hard to pin down but many binge eaters have suffered from depression in their past. Binge eaters report that emotional states can cause their disorder to get worse or better. Being angry, bored, or sad can all create a situation that can be remedied with eating in the binge-eater's mind.

Binge eating can be effectively treated through psychological counseling. Binge eaters should be aware that treatment for binge eating might not result in weight loss, however.  Most treatments consist of long-term monitoring of caloric food intake and a nutritional education.  Some drugs may be prescribed as well.

The best and most long acting treatments take place in a good support network of friends, family, co-workers, or other professionals. An early diagnosis and a quick response to binge eating will result in the best results for treatment.