Family Relationships: Eating disorders can devastate all involved
Eating disorders develop due to many factors. Lack of control over oneâ€™s life is what feeds (no pun intended) the eating disorder. Whether the individual suffers from anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating, the effects can be devastating to not only the individual but their family or friends.
Both men and women can be suffer from eating disorders. However, young women between the ages of 14 and 28 seem to be the most common sufferers, even though people of all ages can develop an eating disorder.
One of the most common eating disorders not discussed is compulsive overeating. Whether it is emotional eating, social eating or what I call â€śgrazing,â€ť where individuals pick/eat food throughout the day. This can result in a sizeable number of calories taken in even if the amount of food eaten at any one time is small. Overeating is a behavior that some individuals cannot manage and often find themselves overweight to the point where their health is in jeopardy. Most people would not consider overeating a disorder, but I am here to tell you that it is.
Whether it is anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating, these disorders can be the result of a combination of factors such as low self-esteem, relationship problems, stress or family issues. Many individuals are not aware that they have a problem. The disorder tends to take control of the individual before they are even aware that they have a problem.
Some symptoms of eating disorders include:
â€˘ Being obsessed with food. Counting calories or always talking about what he/she wants or plans to eat consumes their every thought to the point it effects their daily routine.
â€˘ Too much exercise. Working out more than once a day or for hours each and every day is generally not healthy and can be a sign of an eating disorder.
â€˘ Use of laxatives or diet pills on a daily basis is not only not good for your body but can really put the individualâ€™s overall health in jeopardy.
â€˘ Throwing up after eating. This is a sign of bulimia or binge eating. This too can have serious health risks.
â€˘ Putting themselves down. Talking about how fat they are even though he/she looks fine and is not overweight. A distorted body image is common with eating disorders.
â€˘ Eating food throughout the day/evening. The individual knows that they are overweight but has trouble being able to control their food intake on a daily basis.
Some ways to help family or friends who you may suspect has an eating disorder are:
â€˘ Talk to them. Sitting down with your friend or family member and telling them your concerns is a good beginning. Be sympathetic and understanding, and offer to assist them in getting help.
â€˘ Become educated about eating disorders, not just anorexia/bulimia but also compulsive overeating. The more you know, the easier it will be to understand what your friend or family member may be experiencing.
â€˘ Let them know you care. Help them understand that you are there to support them should they need your help.