Types of Eating Disorders and Means of Seeking Treatment
Diet and Weight Loss Tutorial
Do you simply need help learning how to eat better? Probably. But if you eat poorly as a result of emotional, mental, or spiritual problems, these issues may have to be addressed before you can make any progress with weight loss -- or weight gain.
If people only ate because they were hungry, we wouldn't hear the term "comfort food" so often. Do you eat for other reasons? The following questions are intended for your consideration only. They are not a test.
- Do you use food to escape your troubles?
- Do you eat when you are not hungry, or not eat when you feel you should?
- Do you eat differently when you are alone?
- Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse about your eating habits?
- Do you give so much time and thought to food that it affects your life?
- Do you always seem to be starting a new diet?
- Do you ever eat and then purge yourself of the food you ate?
- Do you exercise excessively to lose weight?
Types of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders take many forms. Three of the most notable are briefly described here:
- Compulsive Overeating: Compulsive overeaters usually follow a pattern of binge eating followed by dieting. The dieting phase of this cycle often results in the loss of the weight gained during the bingeing phase, thus the term "yo-yo dieting."
- Bulimia: Bulimics overeat and then compensate to avoid gaining weight. Methods of compensation include fasting, purging by vomiting or taking laxatives, and excessive exercise.
- Anorexia: Anorexics have a fear of gaining weight and becoming fat, and often see themselves as being fat. In fact, they are underweight and remain this way by eating too little and using the methods of the bulimic to compensate when they feel they have eaten too much.
Eating disorders interfere with our ability to live a normal life, and they play havoc with our emotional and spiritual lives as well.
Anorexia can lead to the shutdown of body functions resulting in death. The methods used by bulimics have unhealthy side effects and can be very dangerous. Compulsive overeating is not usually thought of as life threatening, but yo-yo dieting is unhealthy and the consequences of being overweight shorten life expectancy and promote disease.
What to Do
If you think that you might have an eating disorder, seeing a healthcare professional is certainly advisable. In addition, here are some sources of help and information:
- The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center provides information and treatment resources for all forms of eating disorders.
- Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a fellowship of men and women who meet worldwide to help solve their common problem of compulsive overeating. Patterned after the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), OA addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of recovering from compulsive overeating.