When we gaze in the mirror, our reflection may not be what others see. For some, the image they see is distorted and far from the truth; but it is their reality. Eating disorders have long been around and most of us have heard of the more common eating disorders. However, there’s numerous versions of eating disorders.
This blog is really still only going to scrape the surface and is not intended as medical advice. It is offered to make you sit up and if you recognise these behaviours in someone you know to seek more guidance.
Common Eating Disorders
The more common of the eating disorders are:-
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating
- ARFID or Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
- Other eating disorders are characterised by symptoms that overlap but also with their own uniqueness.
- An eating disorder can develop at anytime in our life and the patient is often extremely secretive, unwilling to reach out and seek help. There may be a range of emotions around the behaviour, including guilt and shame.
Spotting the behavioural signs
Spotting the behavioural signs of someone with an eating disorder may not be apparent, especially if the patient is within a “normal” weight range. The following list draws attention to some of the signs that have been identified as behavioural warning signs.
- Obsessiveness around dieting. Cutting out food groups, counting calories, skipping meals
- Binge eating episodes
- Those who vomit after meals or use laxatives to control their weight
- Over exercising where the patient is obsessed with exercise
- Whilst many of us have a list of the good foods and the bad ones, the patient is more obsessed with food types
- Rituals around eating food
- Avoiding social eating environments
- Giving excuses not to eat food
- Rituals around food preparation but not consuming food themselves
- Body image, obsessive attachment to how your body looks
- Body checking – looking in mirrors, constantly checking weight
- Social withdrawal
- Changing the way you dress
- Picking at food or eating food very slowly, pushing food around the plate
- Denial of ever being hungry
Eating disorders are complex
Eating disorders are complex, with the root cause being lodged in mental health. The symptoms can be fatal. Most don’t understand the facts about mental health and eating disorders. By educating those in the community on the issues of eating disorders and the connection between mental health and eating disorders, those in the community who are affected have a better chance of receiving help.
Eating disorders impact women and men, however at this stage women are in the bigger numbers. Many younger people have eating disorders, which can be wrapped up with other emotional and mental health issues.
What we need to do about eating disorders
The statistics reflect those with eating disorders are reluctant to seek help. Therefore, it is important that others become involved with support and understanding. Intervention is important and seeking help in the early stages can often make a difference to the outcome.
The treatment for eating disorders is a highly specialised area of mental health.
If you need treatment for mental health Release My Super can assist with releasing money from your super to fund treatments under The Compassionate Release of Super Program.