Eating Disorders and Body Image – Prevention Tips and Treatment Methods

Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior. Eating disorder is a complex compulsion to eat, or not eat, in a way which disturbs physical and mental health. A person with anorexia nervosa typically starves himself or herself to be thin and experiences excessive weight loss. In some cases of anorexia, in addition to restricting their food intake kids use purging – by vomiting or taking laxatives – to control their weight. Eating disorders frequently co-occur with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. The most heard about eating disorders are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa. The most widely and rapidly spreading eating disorder is compulsive overeating or Binge eating disorder.

Females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Bulimia is characterized by habitual binge eating and purging. A child with bulimia may experience weight fluctuations. Anorexia may affect a child’s growth, bone mass, cause puberty delays, an irregular heartbeat and blood pressure problems, and gastrointestinal problems. People with anorexia may repeatedly check their body weight, and many engage in other techniques to control their weight, such as intense and compulsive exercise, or purging by means of vomiting and abuse of laxatives, enemas, and diuretics. Physical symptoms of compulsive overeating and binge eating can include weight gain, excessive sweating and shortness of breath.

Many more girls and women suffer from unhealthy eating behavior and negative body image. Anorexia among men is on the rise. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder affecting mainly young women, although men can also suffer from it. Promoting exercise and healthy eating habits as a matter of health and being in shape is one thing; relying on fad diets, miracle drinks, shakes. Body image includes many things. Men are also more likely than women to suffer from excessive exercising. Unfortunately, college campuses can be breeding grounds for eating problems, as they often promote distorted ideals of beauty at a time when women and men are vulnerable to the pressures of success and acceptance.

Eating Disorders Prevention and Treatment Tips

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – emphasizes the relationship between thoughts.

2. Interpersonal therapy – focuses on addressing difficult relationships with others

3. Rational Emotive Therapy focuses on a person’s unhelpful beliefs

4. Group therapy provides a supportive network of people who have similar eating disorders.

5. Family therapy usually involves those who live with the person with the eating disorder

6. Alternative therapies include such approaches as naturopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, and homeopathy.