Category: Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

13 December, 2009 (18:57) | Eating Disorders | By: Health news

It is important to learn and educate yourself as much as possible about eating disorders. They are caused and maintained by many complex underlying factors. Therefore it is very difficult to break the cycle of an eating disorder. Don’t be expecting your loved one to overcome her disease overnight, recovery takes time.

Follow the following tips in your family to balance your life with eating disorders:

  • Affirm your loved one on her strengths and abilities that are not related to her disorder. This can help your loved one help separate her self worth / esteem from weight, shape.
  • Engage in pastimes/ activities together that will not raise their anxieties/worries about food, weight etc. Again this can help your loved one to learn to base their self worth on strengths and abilities that are not related to food, weight and shape.
  • Communicate openly and express your worries and fears directly to your loved one. This can prevent you sending mixed messages and will help prevent confusion.
  • Don’t demand change or set ultimatums re: change. Respect that your loved one has a difficult road of recovery ahead and being patient can be supportive.
  • Don’t take control of their disorder and try to fix it yourself as this can cause your loved one to feel inadequate dependent and incompetent. Depending on its severity it can be appropriate to intervene. For example, if you ever felt your loved one’s life is at risk it is important seek medical professional help. Encourage her to attend a GP because of the health implications associated with an eating disorder it is important for your loved one to have her bloods, BMI, weight, bone density checked and if necessary monitored throughout her recovery.
  • Don’t brush it under the carpet. Your loved one will benefit from your support and concerned interest.
  • Don’t blame your loved one or yourself for this. This will only lead to anger, guilt and conflict. Gaining an understanding about it can help both you and your loved one to cope with recovery.
  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional help if necessary. If your loved one chooses not to discuss her recovery with you and confides in a source/professional outside of the family, embrace this decision.
  • Be aware of your own beliefs/attitudes about weight and shape as your beliefs can be indifferent to the approach your loved one needs.
  • Avoid giving your loved one ‘special’ treatment because of the eating disorder. This approach can cause your loved one to feel labeled; and identified with it while at the same time reinforcing her symptoms. Treat your loved one like any other friend /family member.
  • Be aware of your own needs and your family’s needs too. As eating disorders can be very distressing and consuming for the family it is important to take care of yourself and find support that will help you cope. Know your own limitations.
  • Allow your loved one to take responsibility for her own recovery by you offering her support, providing a listening ear while at the same time letting her make decisions by herself. This can increase her positive self belief re: recovery.
  • Remember recovery can take some time and it is about ‘trial and error’ for your loved one. Slips can happen, it is a normal part of the recovery process but it doesn’t mean that your loved one has ‘failed ‘or is back to the start.

Remember it is important to keep in mind that people do recover.

Bulimia Effects on the Brain

3 December, 2009 (16:34) | Eating Disorders | By: Health news

Bulimia can affect the brain in several ways.

First, it enslaves the attention system. The longer one has bulimia the more his/her attention system suffers. In some cases people even drop out of school, universities, give up on good jobs – all due to their inability to maintain attention and concentrate on their work.

In bulimics, food over-stimulates the attention centers represented through the central nervous system. The abnormal activation creates a state of emergency which brings forth the manifestation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight response) when people think about binging food. As a result, the nervous system has to liberate more energy. The additional flow of energy into the human nervous system gives a feeling of relaxation or a floating feeling called a “high” during the binge.

When the binge finishes, the sufferer is soon drained out of energy and this causes a kind of a hangover and total depression of their attention factors this is the state between binges. The oscillation from over-flow to depression takes their attention fully and registers a shock on the central nervous system. That is why bulimics have difficulty maintaining attention on anything else except of food and binging. Such repeated experiences create enslavement of their attention and destroys their brain cells at the same time.

Secondly on a physiological level, brain function may be impaired as the sufferer doesn’t have enough glucose, lipids or other molecules that can be broken down for energy. Sometimes, in severe cases the brain even starts to consume its own tissue to get the energy. That’s why in chronic sufferers the brain may shrink as a result of lipids in the brain being broken down for energy. This can result in serious brain damage.

These people feel lethargic, confused, powerless and helpless. They can experience headaches, neck pains, back pains and other uncomfortable sensation in their bodies. Often, their aches and pains are of a psycho-somatic origin and not physical.

The brain can also suffer because of the effects caused by electrolyte imbalances. When people purge they lose enormous amount of important chemicals (electrolytes) which makes brain function slow or even impossible depending on the total loss.

Third, on a psychological level the brain is damaged by abnormal thinking patterns as the individual believes that they are overweight when they are clearly severely underweight or normal. Bulimics also have a fear of putting on weight. These abnormal thinking patterns are so strong that they overpower all other thinking processes. That’s why bulimics get so preoccupied with food, weight and body image.

To conclude, bulimia definitely changes the brain structure to an unhealthy level. It makes the brain think, differently, work differently, function and process information differently. The process of changing the brain is called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity can be bad, but can be good it depends how the sufferer chooses to use it.

If bulimics start using neuroplasticity in a positive way they can reverse the damage which has been done by the bulimia and return their brain to a healthy level. And not just that; they can make their brain work like the brain of a genius if they use neuroplasticity correctly.

Anorexia Sings

20 November, 2009 (15:20) | Eating Disorders | By: Health news

Anorexia is an eating disorder problem that mostly occurs in younger people. This often takes place during one’s pubescent years. An anorexic individual usually refrain from ingesting something or eating just a tiny fraction of food, as their response to weight gaining. There are about ten percent of anorexic males, while the rest are females. There is a theory that backs up that people who’s suffering from anorexia are the ones who particularly view themselves in a negative way, most especially when weight is the topic. In reality, to everybody, they look as thin as a paper, but for them, things are different as they still see themselves as overweight.

This eating disorder is just like most disorders out there today, this problem also poses a great risk to one’s health, and has its own and unique symptoms. One of the main causes for concern is the severe inconsistency in one’s weight in comparison to one’s height and age. Some of its tell tale signs do include the inability to dine in public, one’s having an odd menstrual cycle, and one who is obsessed about his/her calorie intakes. Said symptoms can manifest in a lot of different ways, which ranges from physical problems to psychological problems.

There is no exact cause of this eating disorder that has already been found. However, there is an ongoing research that somehow has pointed its finger at how our world shows our teens what the exact image or body must be (through models, actresses, etc.). It is also knows that psychological factors plays a big part in one’s having an anorexia, this is coupled with abuse and other family dysfunction. This type of disorder does not necessarily require hospitalization, except for those who are already suffering from severe anorexia where one’s organs are beginning to fail. Recovery can be obtained for those who seek for help at its early stage.

Warning Signs For Anorexia in Teens

20 November, 2009 (04:49) | Eating Disorders | By: admin

Anorexia in teens is a serious problem that can turn into severe health issues, and potential death. It is not something that should be taken lightly, or ignored.

Statistics show that several teens hide eating disorders for months or years before someone takes notice. As a parent you need to understand the severe health and emotional problems that can come from anorexia, and be on the lookout for the warning signs so that you should your teen suffer from this problem you can help them get treatment quickly and easily.

What are the warning signs? There are certain signs that should put you on the watch for an eating disorder in your teen.

  • For example, an unnatural concern about body weight could be an indicator of a more serious problem. This is especially the case if the person is not overweight at all, and not really in danger of being overweight. This is a warning sign that should tell you that they have a warped sense of what body image should be, and that if not corrected, it could lead to more serious problems.
  • The next warning sign to be on the lookout for is an obsession with calories, fat grams and food or calorie counting. A normal teen without risk of anorexia will learn this stuff, take an interest, and forget it. If you find your teenager rejecting certain foods because of “calories” or “trans fats” or something similar, you may want to discuss their interest with them and evaluate if this is a sign of a problem with food, or a curiosity sparked by learning. Obsession with counting calories, or limiting food intake because of a fear of weight gain is a sure sign of eating disorder, or impending eating disorder.
  • Next, a huge warning sign for anorexia is that of using any medicines to keep from gaining weight (diet pills, laxatives, water pills, etc.). Teenagers should not be interested in such methods, and if you ever catch them using them, it should act as a big red flag that they are having a problem.

These are some of the more prevalent warning signs, of course in addition to that you may want to keep your eyes open for skipped meals, decreased appetite, etc. Most people with eating disorders will try and hide it if they are reducing their eating. They will have “legitimate” reasons for not being hungry, etc. However, as a parent you need to be wise to their reasons, and evaluate their honesty. If this becomes a frequent occurrence, even justified, you should look into it.

Of course, there are far more serious warning signs to watch for as well. Some indicate severity of an eating disorder, not a tendency toward potentially having one. Again, most teens with eating disorders, particularly anorexia, try and hide it, so you will have to be perceptive. Watch for things like refusing to eat or lying about how much was eaten. If you have to, scoop up their plate yourself, and make sure they finish it. Things like fainting can be a huge indicator of an eating disorder, specifically one that involves self starving. If your teen faints, talk to a physician about the reasons, and possibility of an eating disorder.

Over-exercising or an obsession with exercise is another sign of an eating disorder, as the two often go hand in hand because of the obsession with being thin. Not having periods is a warning sign that is easy to watch for. If you notice it has been a while since you purchased feminine products, or emptied a trash can with them in it, it could be a sign of an eating disorder as it messes with the monthly cycle and can eliminate it for a time. Lastly, watch for signs such as denial. Most teens who suffer from anorexia will swear there is nothing wrong, and make up excuses for their increased interest in their weight, their weight loss, or weight fluctuation.