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In the first part of this article we discussed the first two eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Both of these are very serious illnesses that encompass both a psychological and physical realm. A final type of eating disorder that has a few differences from the other two is Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder
The reason this eating disorder differs from Anorexia and Bulimia is that it more often than not has very little to do with body image. This person is using food as a source for comfort, or a way to work through their problems. They normally don't have a distorted body image the way an anorexic does and don't have a great desire to become thinner.
The marked characteristic of binge eating disorder is a period of time where a person uncontrollably eats very large quantities of food. They do not purge the food up the way a person with Bulimia does but rather go into a state of self-hate and feelings of worthlessness.
When they are undergoing a binge, they eat way past the point of fullness and feel a sense of powerless to stop. These binges also happen on a frequent basis, not something that someone does from time to time such as on holidays.
Overeating is a common thing among the world's population today, which is contributing to obesity; however binge eating becomes the issue when the person begins binging uncontrollably after certain triggers set it off.
Triggers & Signals
Various factors that may make this person want to binge are:
- Problems with relationships
- Basically anything where they feel they need comfort.
- Eating more rapidly than normal
- Eating until they are uncomfortably full
- Hiding food
- Eating large quantities of food in a short period of time
- Eating only when they are alone
- Weight gain
- A feeling of lethargy
- Feeling disgusted with themselves
Some common signals that may indicate a person is suffering from binge eating disorder are:
The biggest factor in the treatment of binge eating disorder is figuring out alternative sources this person can turn too for comfort when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or whatever else they feel before a binge.
They may seek help from talking to family members or friends, writing in a journal, exercising, taking a bath or even doing some meditation or relaxation exercises.
Once they find that food does not solve their problems and only makes them worse and learn to turn to alternative outlets to cope with their feelings, they will find that their disorder significantly weakens.
Reverse Anorexia Nervosa
Finally, an opposite type of eating disorder that is most commonly shown is men, is the opposite of Anorexia Nervosa. In this disorder the person sees themselves as too thin and wants to do everything to get more muscular.
With the media today promoting the big muscular image as attractive and sexy for men, more and more young guys are starting to go to extreme methods to gain muscle mass. They may be turning to steroids or begin spending hour upon hour at the gym.
All the while, every time they pass a mirror they feel discouraged by their body and see themselves as scrawny and weak, even though the complete opposite may be the case. These men also have a distorted body image, one that does not reflect reality.
Some of the common signals of men with an unhealthy obsession with the way they look are:
- Spending much of their time working out (significantly increased from what they used to do)
- Consuming large amounts of food in an effort to put on weight
- Drug use (steroids)
- Frequent mirror checking
- Comparing themselves with other men who have a large muscular stature
This form of an eating disorder is a little bit less serious than Anorexia and Bulimia as there are not serious health threats involved (other than perhaps those associated with excessive steroid use which is seen in rare cases).
To treat this disorder, the male should seek counselling to learn to deal with his feelings that he has to meet the ideal image society has set for males today. He needs to learn that many of the men cast in the media are not realistic and this image is very hard for a male to realistically achieve.
One major problem with treatment of this disorder however, is males seem to be far less likely to seek treatment for such a problem as first it is not typically viewed as a normal disorder, and second, because if they do recognize there is a problem, they are often embarrassed to admit it is affecting them.
The best case is probably for a close friend or family member who is concerned to talk to the individual about it and not push it on them too much but rather let him feel free to talk about his feelings at anytime. As long as he has this view that he can go to this person and not be judged, hopefully he will eventually come out and request help.
| Also Note:
That this is just one form of eating disorder that affects males. Although much more rare, males can be effected by Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge eating disorder just like females and often suffer for the same reasons.
Treatment options would all be similar for males as it is for females, however extra precaution may be taken since these disorders are commonly viewed as a 'female problem' so the male may be extra sensitive for fear of being viewed as a homosexual for dealing with these issues.
A Serious Illness
Eating disorders are a very serious illness and should not be taken lightly. They can greatly affect someone's life, especially in the psychological realm. Often these people cut themselves off from reality and become very depressed as well. If treatment is pursued early enough in the process however, recovery rates are quite good and they can eventually go on to lead normal healthy lives.
People involved with fitness must take extra measures to ensure their healthy lifestyle behaviours do not become obsessive and lead into an eating disorder. Often it is very hard to distinguish what constitutes a healthy diet and what makes up an unhealthy fear of foods.
The biggest factor to look for is the fear of becoming fat. When working out and eating healthy turn into something done solely to pursue a certain look, chances are this person is travelling down a dangerous road.
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Enjoy & Relax
So while you are on your quest for a healthier mind, body and lifestyle, ensure you still give yourself some freedom to enjoy your food and relax once in a while from your strict workout and diet routine. Your mind will thank you and you will maintain a positive attitude towards eating and exercise.
Seek out alternative methods to eating and excessive exercise when you are feeling stressed or unhappy, as these are two of the common triggers for binge eating and starving oneself to gain a sense of control.
If you find yourself slipping into something that might not be considered healthy, take a good look at the situation and realize the consequences of the road you are about to travel down. It will be well worth your effort to turn around and do something more health conscious.
- www.anred.com [ online ]
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