About Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions in which you’re so preoccupied with food and weight that you can often focus on little else. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.Eating disorders can cause serious physical problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening. Most people with eating disorders are females, but males can also have eating disorders. An exception is binge-eating disorder, which appears to affect almost as many males as females.
Treatment for eating disorders is brief, and the most effective currently available. We offer cutting edge evidence based treatment for eating disorders and we also specialise in training clinical professionals in Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom.
The signs and symptoms of eating disorders vary with the particular type of eating disorder.Anorexia nervosaWhen you have anorexia nervosa you’re obsessed with food and being thin, sometimes to the point of deadly self-starvation.
Anorexia signs and symptoms may include:
- Refusing to eat and denying hunger
- An intense fear of gaining weight
- Negative or distorted self-image
- Excessively exercising
- Flat mood or lack of emotion
- Preoccupation with food
- Social withdrawal
- Thin appearance
- Dizziness or fainting
- Soft, downy hair present on the body (lanugo)
- Menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
- Abdominal pain
- Dry skin
- Frequently being cold
- Irregular heart rhythms
When to seek Treatment
Because of its powerful pull, an eating disorder can be difficult to manage or overcome by yourself. Eating disorders can virtually take over your life. You may think about food all the time, spend hours agonizing over what to eat, and exercise to exhaustion. You may feel ashamed, sad, hopeless, drained, irritable and anxious. You may also have a host of physical problems because of your eating disorder, such as irregular heartbeats, fatigue, bowel troubles and dizziness. If you’re experiencing any of these problems or if you think you may have an eating disorder consider seeking help and connect with your Doctor.Urging a loved one to seek treatment
Unfortunately, many people with eating disorders resist treatment. If you have a loved one you’re worried about, urge him or her to talk to us. Even if your loved one isn’t ready to acknowledge having an issue with food, you may be able to open the door using some specific techniques we have tried and clinically tested that have effect.Keep in mind, however, that in children it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s an eating disorder and what’s simply a whim, a new fad, or experimentation with a vegetarian diet or other eating styles. In addition, many girls and sometimes boys go on diets to lose weight, but stop dieting after a short time. If you’re a parent or guardian, be careful not to mistake occasional dieting with an eating disorder. On the other hand, be alert for eating patterns and beliefs that may signal unhealthy behavior, as well as peer pressure that may trigger eating disorders.
Red flags that family and friends may notice include: Skipping meals Making excuses for not eating Eating only a few certain “safe” foods, usually those low in fat and calories Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out after chewing Cooking elaborate meals for others, but refusing to eat them themselves Withdrawing from normal social activities Persistent worry or complaining about being fat A distorted body image, such as complaining about being fat despite being underweight Not wanting to eat in public Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws Wearing baggy or layered clothing Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweet or high-fat foods Use of dietary supplements or herbal products for weight loss