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Eating Disorders

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Emotional eating disorders plague many people young and old. But the easiest targets are the teenage girls who are barraged daily with the media’s idea of beautiful girls; most of these models are beanpole thin. Supermodels come into focus in the news daily, using laxatives, illegal drugs, binging and purging in order to make top dollar in the fashion industry. The weight- loss business, just like the modeling business is a profitable industry.

If you find yourself obsessing over food, loading up your plate at meals then picking your way through the pile of food, you may have an unhealthy relationship with food. One actress recently bragged after being told how wonderful she looks, that she only eats nuts and drinks coffee! She said it worked wonders on her waistline- but what damage is this unhealthy lifestyle doing inside of her?

Do you eat all you want and then excuse yourself to go purge? This is a common problem for many a young girl, and there are grave dangers to binging and purging. Over time, the esophagus will wear a hole in the lining; your stomach acid constantly being forced up your throat will burn your membranes. The enamel on your teeth will erode away and you will be faced with some high dental bills and painful dental work ahead.

Some, instead of binging or purging resort to laxatives or diuretics, or become exercise fanatics and over-stress their joints and muscles. These are the three main eating disorders that plague our society today: anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binging and purging, also called binge eating disorder.

Generally these types of ways to “diet” are based on psychological problems, criticism from loved ones about the shape or size of the body, or low self-esteem and a chance to try and fit in and look like the “rest.” This type of weight control can be brought about by abuse, both physical and mental, a major upheaval in life, family problems, depression, losing a loved one.

Binging and purging is sometimes viewed as a way for a person with an out-of-control life to try and gain back the control.  Each eating disorder brings with it serious health concerns.

Three main eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Dehydration
  • Irregular or missing menstrual cycle
  • Bone density loss
  • Lowered immune system
  • Brittle bones
  • Weak nails
  • Bloating and constipation
  • Irregular heart beat, weakness, and shaking
  • Fatigue


Bulimia

  • Deterioration of the esophagus
  • Teeth and gum problems
  • GERD
  • Dehydration
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Vitamin and mineral depletions
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Death


Binge Eating Disorder

Do you suspect your child has bulimia? There are signs to look for. Check their hands. There are usually red marks (bite marks) on the knuckle of the hands. Also if the teeth are starting to look yellowed, or your child spends a lot of time in the bathroom with water running, you should be concerned and get your child in for a full evaluation.

Anorexia Nervosa is easier to spot symptom-wise- Low self esteem,  sudden weight loss to unnatural levels, menses stops, fighting with family, withdrawn and isolated, sudden appearance of facial hair,

Binge Eating Disorder symptoms- eating large amounts of food rapidly, overeating all the time, preferring to eat alone, and showing distress after eating a large meal. Tremendous feelings of guilt following a meal.

If you believe your child or your friend has an eating disorder and is not just “dieting to lose weight.” Please talk to someone about intervening.  Food should be to support life, and each life is precious. When one person is either obsessed with eating too much, or not at all they are traveling into dangerous territory. Professional help is needed and quickly.

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