An eating disorder is characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. Individuals with an eating disorder may eat a lot and then purge or eat too little. The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of low self esteem.
What happens during an Eating Disorder?
Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters control how the body makes hormones. People with eating disorders have very low levels of two neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. These two prod the brain's pituitary gland to make and release hormones that help control the neuroendocrine system, which manages emotions, physical development, memory, and heartbeat. When the hormones stop coming, these bodily functions slip into slow gear.
The results of an eating disorder be deadly. The body loses calcium, making the bones brittle and easy to break. Bone loss can occur as quickly as six months. Other negative consequences of an eating disorder are: drop in blood pressure; dry, yellow skin; and the shrinkage of the brain. A person with an eating disorder may also have an uneven heartbeat that can lead to heart failure.
Types of Eating Disorders
Three types of eating disorders are discussed on MamasHealth. The eating disorders discussed are: bulimia, overeating, and anorexia nervosa. To learn more about them, visit bulimia, overeating, and anorexia nervosa.
A Family Member has an Eating Disorder
If you have a family member that with an Eating Disorder, they need a lot of support. Suggest that your family member see an eating disorder expert. Be prepared for denial, resistance, and even anger. A doctor and/or a counselor can help them battle their eating disorder.
Some of the signs to look for are: Using the bathroom frequently after meals; Preoccupation with body weight; Depression or mood swings; Swollen glands in neck and face; Weakness, exhaustion bloodshot eyes
Bulimia, Overeating, and Anorexia Nervosa require medical help. If you think you have one of these disorders, call a doctor who knows about eating disorders. Once you call the doctor, he or she will ask you to describe your symptoms and will give you an exam to make sure you don't have another illness. If you have an eating disorder, the doctor will refer you to a treatment program, which will most likely combine psychotherapy with advice on what to eat.
You can also get help by contacting a national organization. You can find a list of national organizations by clicking here.