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03-06 Shattering myths about eating disorders


Shattering myths about eating disorders

For some teens, the entire focus of the life is on the body weight and their body image. They may look normal on the outside, but their minds are too fixated on their food and the calorie intake. Prolonged frustration concerning the number of calories gained or lost can lead to a problem concerning eating disorders.

One may wonder if eating disorder is really a cause for concern. As per the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), an estimated 30 million Americans are afflicted with eating disorders. Of all the mental disorders, the mortality rate resulting from eating disorders is the highest. One person dies because of eating disorder every 62 minutes, indicating the prevalence of a mental illness that has hardly received any attention.

According to a 2011 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study, “About 3 percent of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition.” It has become all the more important to emphasize on the distress caused by eating disorders and to inform people about the need to seek medical help for the problem.

This mental health problem is more than a conscious lifestyle choice; it is about trying to cope with psychological distress or attempt to regain a sense of control and conform to one’s perception of beauty and body image. Various studies have shown how such disorders are biologically influenced.

Truth about eating disorders

With so many adolescents suffering from eating disorders, it is necessary to dispel the myths and inform people about the severity with which the disease may strike anyone irrespective of age, gender, socio-economic background or race.

  • People affected by eating disorders seem healthy, though they may be suffering from an inveterate psychiatric problem
  • Families must not be blamed for wrong decisions taken by the patients, but should support the victims
  • Eating disorders can debilitate daily functioning and hamper family peace
  • There is a heightened risk of committing suicide and suffering from medical complications
  • Recovery from eating disorders is possible through timely diagnosis and treatment

Warning signs of eating disorders

It is not too easy to diagnose the disorders. Not all symptoms of the disorder are visible, thus, to understand the problem, one needs to be vigilant regarding the behavior of the loved ones. The manifestations of the disorder may be physical or behavioral.

Some physical signs of eating disorders are:

  • notable shifts in body weight
  • stomach cramps and unspecified gastrointestinal complaints
  • irregular menstruation or having it only with the help of hormonal contraceptives
  • interrupted concentration while performing daily activities
  • nausea
  • tendency to faint
  • insomnia
  • dental problems like erosion of the enamel, dental cavities and increased tooth sensitivity
  • dehydrated skin
  • thinning of hair strands on head
  • muscle spasms
  • improper healing of wounds
  • lack of immunity

Some of the behavioral symptoms of eating disorders are:

  • unnaturally concerned about body weight, calories and embracing fad diets to lose weight
  • refusal to eat a wholesome diet
  • tendency of frequent binge eating
  • tendency to excessively purge to get rid of the extra food consumed
  • drinking excessive amount of water
  • withdrawal from social activities
  • tendency to check oneself in the mirror hoping to conform with discerned body image
  • frequent mood swings

Timely intervention important for recovery from eating disorders

There are many stereotypes surrounding the concept of eating disorders that make it difficult to discuss, but it is a big problem in the U.S. According to the NIMH, roughly 25 percent of college students suffer from eating disorders. Moreover, most of them might also suffer from other mental disorders as well.

If you or any adolescent at home are struggling because of eating disorders, it is necessary to convince them that they need medical help. At Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, we treat mental illnesses and eating disorders. The facility offers holistic treatment to those willing to get rid of their psychological distress linked to eating disorder tendencies. Various approaches like cognitive therapies, life-coaching, coping workshops and dining exercises help improve the distorted version patients have about food and their perceived body image. To overcome eating disorders, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-615-7266 or chat online with our experts.

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