An eating disorder is a mental health condition that happens when your regular eating pattern is disrupted. We must eat to survive, but if we start consuming food abnormally, we could experience a whole host of different types of health problems.
It is important to diagnose eating disorders early and start treatment without delay. Most people who are diagnosed with an eating disorder can be helped.
What Causes an Eating Disorder?
The leading cause of eating disorders is linked to mental health. In some cases, people who are experiencing emotional trauma can start eating more than they usually do. On the other hand, the patient may suddenly start eating less food than normal.
Social pressure has been identified as one of the causes of eating disorders. Younger people can be influenced by content they see on the internet, which portrays unrealistic perceptions of how they should look. These images and content can trigger depression and subsequently lead to a severe eating disorder.
Who Can Suffer From an Eating Disorder?
Generally, statistics show that women are more prone to experiencing eating disorders than men (source). However, there have been some reported cases of men with this health condition, and the numbers are rising.
The victims who suffer from eating disorders usually fall between the ages of 12 to 35 years.
Signs of an Eating Disorder
Here are some of the indications that someone is experiencing an eating disorder…
Rapid and Unexplained Weight Loss
People who have an eating disorder lose weight very quickly. This happens because they suddenly develop a fear of eating meals that they previously enjoyed.
Eating less food can cause anorexia, which can be fatal if the condition is not quickly treated.
In some cases, people with eating disorders can quickly become obese.
An eating disorder can cause physical exhaustion because the patient consumes fewer calories needed to produce energy.
Treatment for Eating Disorders
People who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder should be checked into a mental healthcare centre for rehabilitation.
The treatment process involves a series of steps that depend on the patient’s condition.
First, an assessment is done to determine the extent of the patient’s condition, before rehabilitation commences.
If necessary, the patients are recommended to be registered for an inpatient rehab program or an outpatient program, which are for patients who do not suffer an extreme case.
The treatment process involves intensive psychotherapy. The patient is guided on how to accept the condition, and cooperate with the rehabilitation process to achieve best results.
The therapy for rehabilitation depends on the patient, and it may involve…
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT – more info)
- Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT), and
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
- Transformational Mindset Coaching (such as James Peters)
The treatment process is aimed at identifying alternatives such as healthy foods in the case of obesity, and foods rich in calories, if the patient is anorexic. Treatment for eating disorders also involves long-term coping methods that can help the patient to avoid a relapse after leaving the facility.