The week spanning 26/2/18 to 4/3/18 is being treated as the Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Eating Disorder is not common in the general population but it is there and has a significant mortality ratio. There are several types of Eating Disorder but three are most prominent. Eating Disorder is more common in the Western world and Asia, among high income earner; the prevalence globally ranges from less than 0.01 per cent to 4 per cent. Females aged 15-19 years are most affected; other groups with fairly prevalence include Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals. Caucasians are more affected than non-caucasians such as Africans and Hispanics/Latinos.
About 95 percent of cases are female; Eating Disorder is therefore, in the main a problem of young white female from middle- and upper- class.
The incidence of Anorexia nervosa has been on the increase in the last two decades but that of Bulimia nevosa has been on the decline.
The Eating Disorder Awareness week is meant to raise awareness about the condition which is now recognised as a mental disease.
1. What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating Disorder is a mental illness characterised by abnormal eating habits; the affected may eat very little with excessive weight loss or eats too much or have other abnormal eating habits.
2. What are the common types of Eating Disorder?
The common types of Eating Disorder include:
a. Binge Eating Disorder: when people eat a large amount in a short period of time,
b. Anorexia nervosa: when people eat very little and thus have a low body weight,
c. Bulimia nervosa: where people eat a lot and then try to rid themselves of the food,
d. Pica: when people eat non-food items such as sand,
e. Rumination disorder: when people regurgitate food,
f. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: when people have no interest in food
3. What causes Eating Disorder?
Causes of Eating Disorders include:-
b. Peer or Parental pressure on slimness/perfect body,
c. Psychiatric conditions: Excessive Obsession/Perfectionistic traits/Anxiety neurosis/ Depression
d. Professions that emphasize thinness and weight loss: Modelling, Ballet, Air Stewardship
e. Hormonal disorders
f. Aesthetic ally inclined sports that emphasize thin firm bodies: Diving, Swimming, Wrestling, Gymnastics and Marathon runners among others.
g. Physical abuse/Sexual abuse within the family
h. Psychological Disorder: Poor self-esteem and Poor body-image
i. Emotional trauma
4. What are the symptoms of Eating Disorder?
Symptoms of Eating Disorders include excessive weight loss, cold intolerance, constipation, cessation of menstruation in females, piles, low body temperature, dry scaly skin and swollen feet.
5. What are the possible complications of Eating Disorder?
Complications include excessive weight loss (less than 15 percent of expected weight), poor hormonal functions, poor sleep, hunger pangs, electrolyte in-balance, malnutrition, low heart rate, poor blood circulation, heart failure and death.
6. Can Eating Disorder be cured?
The goal of treatment is to establish normal eating habit, restore weight and normal menstruation. There is a cure in about two thirds of cases in experienced centres; about two to six percent die from complications of the illness or commit suicide. The rest, about 27 percent continue to have eating difficulties and psychiatric problems.