It is believed that around 1.6 million people in the UK alone suffer from some type of eating disorder.
Bulimia and Anorexia
Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the two most common disorders, both affecting a large percentage of women and significant percentage of men.
Both of these conditions are serious mental health issues that can affect anyone of any age. Understanding what they are and why people are affected by them is the first step you can take to help yourself or someone you love to seek the right help.
The signs most commonly associated with bulimia nervosa are overeating and vomiting.
Those with bulimia find it difficult to control the amount of food that they eat and therefore, feel guilty about eating too much, too quickly.
If someone is reluctant to eat around you or goes to the bathroom very quickly after eating a meal, they may be trying to hide a condition such as bulimia.
Taking laxatives on a regular basis could also be a sign of bulimia, if the person is not known to have any other health problems such as IBS or constipation. Bulimia can cause a significant number of health issues.
Just some of the problems it can create are tooth decay from excess vomiting, intestinal damage, heart disease and kidney failure.
Anorexia nervosa manifests itself in quite a different way. Although it can cause similar health problems, those with anorexia eat too little because they believe themselves to be overweight even if they are dangerously underweight or slim.
Affects the Body and Mind
This obsession to be thin can not only cause physical health issues such as kidney disease, brittle bones and hair loss, but also causes serious depression and self-loathing as well.
Eating disorders can become an issue for a number of reasons but are often caused by increased stresses from changes in everyday life or even extra stress from exams, school or work.
Hormonal changes have also been known to cause mental health issues such a bulimia and anorexia nervosa and these are more common in younger girls and boys.
Cultural factors are also believed to be a responsible for a large number of eating disorder cases, as a thin figure is perceived to be a sign of importance and beauty in many parts of the world.
Help is Here
Detecting and seeking help for an eating disorder early can save a friend or loved one from health issues that can often be painful, life threating and permanent.
Speaking to trained professional in confidence can help you to gain the confidence to talk to a loved one about their health or can even help you personally, if you are suffering yourself.
Behavioural therapy and healthy eating plans created and implemented by trained professionals, are some of the best ways to help recover from a serious eating disorder and can be tailored to fit your personal needs.
Everyone is different but with the right help, anyone can overcome their health issues safely and effectively.