Eating disorders are serious mental conditions related to eating behaviors that have negative impacts on the physical, social and emotional health of a person. It can affect any male and female from all cultural backgrounds. The causes of eating disorders are unknown, but it contributes to many factors including genes and the environment a person lives in.
Eating disorders significantly impact the body’s ability to acquire appropriate nutrition and may distress body weight and shape leading to dangerous eating behaviors. It can also damage the digestive system, heart, bones, teeth, and mouth and lead to other torment diseases. These disorders often develop in teenage but they can also develop at young ages among children. Although the causes are not defined well, the treatment can help to return to better eating habits.
There are commonly four types of eating disorders
Anorexia Nervosa: a person suffering from Anorexia Nervosa eats too little and remains underweight.
Bulimia Nervosa: a person suffering from Bulimia Nervosa typically weighs normally but eats too much.
Binge Eating Disorder: Commonly known as BED, a person suffering from Binge Eating Disorder is overweight and eats too much.
Pica: a person suffering from pica might eat non-food or non-nutritional substances including dirt, soap, chalk, sand, etc.
All these eating disorders can cause a variety of complications, some of which could be life-threatening. If the disorder is more severe or long-lasting, it can lead to serious complications such as health problems, anxiety, depression, development and growth problems, school and work issues, social and emotional breakdown, suicidal thoughts, and sometimes can lead to death.
Although eating disorders can occur at any age, they are more likely to develop at a young age and affect girls more than boys. Certain factors can increase the risk of thriving an eating disorder which includes:
Family history: if parents or siblings suffer from eating disorders
Other mental disorders: Often show symptoms of depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dieting or starvation: Starvation affects the brain’s functions leading to anxiety and a reduction in appetite.
Stress: Family or other related issues or environmental change can increase the risk of developing an eating disorder
Although there is no proven evidence to prevent eating disorders, they can be controlled by talking to your child and feeding them proper meals according to their timetable by following a proper meal plan. Parents can represent themselves as role model by cultivating and reinforcing a healthy body image. Still, if needed, an early visit to a doctor can save from a lot of complications.