One of the most common eating disorders we’ve all come to know is anorexia. Most of those accounts portraying anorexia are focused on women and young girls. There are also other eating disorders we may not be aware of looking at someone directly. Other eating disorders are harder to see on the surface, whereas anorexia is characterized by extremely low weight that causes the person affected to waste away before our very eyes. Conditions like this hurt families and they often feel confused and helpless because half of the time they are unaware there’s an issue.
At Visions Adolescent Treatment Center it’s important that our parents and loved ones learn a little something about every mental health and emotional condition so they can be ready, with eyes wide open, to see the signs. We hope to prepare families everywhere to care for each other, even when the person hurting can’t express themselves in words at that moment. What most people don’t realize is that eating disorders don’t just affect women and girls, unlike what the media continues to show us. Eating disorders affect everyone no matter what their gender. It’s known that over 10 million men in the United States are affected by eating disorders; this number is half of women and girls affected, but the point is that women are not the only people that struggle with weight and body image.
Common Types of Eating Disorders:
Anorexia Nervosa: This condition begins with complete cessation of eating or gaining any type of nutrition into the body at all. Our adolescents affected by anorexia often lose weight rapidly to the point that can cause serious health issues, possibly even death.
Symptoms of Anorexia:
Acute fatigue and insomnia Thinning hair Trouble with digestion Social withdrawal Depression Suicidal thoughts Won’t eat in a group setting and often make up excuses Anxiety concerning weight gain Reduced periods in women Dehydration Jaundice (yellowed skin) Wearing baggy clothes
Bulimia Nervosa: Those affected by bulimia eat, but they won’t allow the food to digest in their system. You’ll notice them take frequent bathroom breaks to vomit up their food to avoid absorption of nutrients so they can avoid gaining any weight. Bulimia is a serious condition that could cause deterioration of the esophagus and other tissues in the body. Those with bulimia could suffer from seizures and irregular heart rhythm.
Symptoms of Bulimia:
Frequent mood changes Depression and anxiety Their breath will often have an obscure odor Dental deterioration Constipation or inflammation of intestinal tract Dry skin Eat lots of food quickly and excuse themselves Critical of body weight and shape Muscle cramping Tremors Social withdrawal Fainting
Binge Eating Disorder: With binge eating disorder people eat, and they will eat regularly, but when they’re alone these abnormal eating behaviors occur. Bulimics have periods where they won’t eat, fast, then eat a high amount of food in one sitting. Those with bulimia will often eat fast food alone and hop from one restaurant to another to eat in isolation.
Symptoms of Binge Disorder:
Lack of self-control Eating significant amounts of food and hiding food away Continually eating until it becomes uncomfortable Social withdrawal Weight gain Feeling guilty eating Excessive exercising Can binge eat and then vomit their foods
Body image disorder or body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition that often comes from these disorders of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. It might be the case that your loved one started with a form of extreme dieting or became addicted to exercise and this body dysmorphic disorder manifested, or the other way around. These conditions work off one another.
At Visions, we work with our teens to help them realize the beauty within each and every one of them. If we’re aware of the way our children feel about themselves and how we as a family or supportive unit talk to them, we might notice these changes in eating behaviors and the adverse effects that come from them. As always, pay attention and be attentive to your children. If your child or loved one develops an eating disorder, call Visions Adolescent Treatment Center today to find out how we can help at 866-889-3665.