Eating disorders are a type of ailment that cause troubling eating habits and unnecessary anguish or anxiety about putting on extra weight. It can either cause excessive or scarce consumption of food, eventually resulting in damage to the patient’s health. If not treated early on, it can be fatal as well.
What causes eating disorders?
Though the exact reason for eating disorders is yet to be found, most of them can be traced to a combination of psychological, social, and biological factors:
Sometimes it might be due to a biological problem and thus people who have a family history of binge eating, or who have been brought up with an erratic food habit, run the risk of being impacted by this ailment more than others.
Psychological: It can be due to certain hidden mental pressure or psychological problem, especially amongst teenagers and young adults.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Some traumatic incident in life.
- Family upbringing causing an obsession with the figure and looks.
- Lack of confidence.
Societal: It can also be due to the environment or society the person is living in.
- An intense focus on the person’s appearance
- Pressure to participate in extra-curricular activities demanding body fitness.
- Peer pressure.
- Lack of a healthy support system
While it is tough to accept that one may have an eating disorder and then seek help for it, with proper assistance, the person can overcome it. In case of dire scenarios, hospitalization might be required. The biggest challenge with this disease is that it is not easy to differentiate between a person struggling to fight this disease and a healthy person.
Who is at risk of developing an eating disorder?
Certain physical, socio-economic, psychological, and even environmental factors increase the susceptibility of an individual to eating disorders. However, there can be others also who are also at a high risk, such as those obsessed with their body image, or aiming for a perfect figure by means of excessive dieting or rigorous exercise regimes.
- Excessive dieting: While dieting is not an evil, extreme dieting or being obsessed with dieting is not good. The moment you feel that you or family member associate self-worth to dieting, it is time to seek help.
- Life transition: Often, when we are going through some significant transition in life, our mind is stressed out. Many people resort to binge-eating to relax and divert their minds. If not controlled in time, these people can easily become vulnerable.
- Age: Teenagers are at high risk of being susceptible to eating disorders; mostly due to peer pressure. While healthy and planned weight loss is good, if your child is obsessed with dieting and his or her body weight, then it should be a cause for worry.
- Gender: Both men and women are vulnerable to eating disorders. Trying to fit into structured roles of masculinity and feminity, both genders can push themselves too hard, making them vulnerable to eating disorders. So, this is more to do with societal pressure and the psychological framework than the gender of the patient.