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International Counselor, Leech Therapist, Master of Body, Mind and Spirit
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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Compulsive Overeating by mehdi jaffari

Compulsive Overeating by mehdi jaffari

Do you ‘eat to live’ or do you ‘live to eat’? For most people, it’s a little of both. Most of the time, eating is merely just a part of a routine that we do to get through the day in one piece. At other times, however, eating becomes a great source of enjoyment and pleasure; this happens when we eat at a gourmet restaurant or when we try that exquisite, new cuisine. It’s perfectly okay to love food – it is, after all, both a source of joy and a source of sustenance. It is, however, completely wrong when someone loves food to the point of obsession. At that point, ‘eating to live’ turns into ‘eating to die’.

Indeed, Food Addiction is a condition that can easily turn fatal if not curbed. And it is important to know exactly when love for food is normal and when it’s not.

What is Compulsive Overeating?

Compulsive Overeating is an eating disorder which is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to eat. This uncontrollable overeating is often called ‘binging’. It’s the same thing that people with Bulimia Nervosa do. But the difference with compulsive overeaters is that they do not feel the need to purge themselves of the food they have eaten, thereby resulting in intense weight gain.

During binge episodes, those who are afflicted usually continue to consume food despite the fact that they are already full. Moreover, although compulsive overeaters never feel the urge to purge themselves through vomiting or through laxative use, they are not exempt from the feelings of guilt and shame that are associated with losing control during binge episodes.

After they undergo a binge, they usually go on serious diets which they will most likely fail because of their attachment to food. This failure will then lead to greater disappointment and thus a greater need for comfort, which then leads to another binge episode.

Binging is not the only thing that characterizes this disorder, however. There is such a thing as ‘grazing’ behavior, which usually occurs when the person is not having a binging episode. While ‘grazing’, the person would commonly eat small portions of food continuously throughout the day. This results in an excessive intake of carbohydrates and even more weight gain.

When the weight gain is mostly through binging, however, a more specific term for the disorder is used, and that is ‘binge-eating disorder’.

However, unlike the other eating disorders – namely, Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa – the percentage of males who overeat are rather high. Compulsive overeating is commonly associated with obesity, as a lot of people who are obese become that way because of their binging habits. However, it should be noted that not all people who are obese have the compulsive overeating disorder.

What Causes Compulsive Overeating?

The onset of Compulsive Overeating starts at childhood, right when a person’s eating habits were being formed. It is said that when parents force their children to finish their meals even if they’re already full or when parents press their children to eat more than they can, the children are likely to overeat once they become adults. Similarly, parents who always use the inducement of food as a means of placating or rewarding their children may actually predispose their children to compulsive overeating.

The most common reason for binging, and therefore for compulsive overeating, is to facilitate coping. It’s some sort of defense mechanism for some people, a way of comforting themselves. Binging, therefore, is rather common during times of stress.

Some people also overeat because it is their means of protecting themselves. People who have a history of sexual abuse may think that becoming fat will make them less attractive and therefore less likely to be noticed by people and less likely to be subjected to the same abuse that they have experienced before.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Overeating?

People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are usually overweight, sometimes even obese. Since they can’t control their eating habits, they usually end up weighing more than they should. They are typically unhealthy and thus become susceptible to other serious conditions like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.

If the weight gain is severe enough, the person may also experience mobility problems. Some of those who are morbidly obese cannot move themselves without external aid. Arthritis, Sciatica, and Varicose Veins are also rather common in people with this disorder, mainly because all of these are exacerbated by excessive weight. Their sleeping patterns are usually disturbed and they also usually have high blood pressure. They often present with shortness of breath and very high cholesterol levels. They are also rather at risk for kidney diseases and are in danger of suffering from a stroke.

These people usually eat even if they don’t feel hungry. They spend much of their time fantasizing about food, although they mostly do this secretly. They eat rapidly and sometimes messily. They also prefer to eat alone because their eating habits make them feel ashamed; despite being overweight, people with Compulsive Overeating Disorder usually do not eat much when they are in public.

They’re usually preoccupied with their body weight but are often caught in a vicious cycle of weight gain and weight loss. They immediately regain whatever fat they have lost in a failed diet. They usually have a history of weight fluctuations and they are usually known to have tried and failed at several diets over the years.

People who have compulsive eating disorder may often seem depressed and may have frequent mood swings. They are not in denial about their disorder and are fully aware that their eating patterns are not normal. To cope with this, they would go on diets, but as earlier mentioned, they usually fail to follow through because they are addicted to food.

They also tend to withdraw from social situations because their weight makes them feel inadequate. They tend to have low self esteem and usually believe wholeheartedly that their problems will be fixed and that they will become better people if they can only become thinner. They center their whole lives on their weight, and often attribute all of their failures, both socially and academically, to their weight.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Bulimia Nervosa by mehdi jaffari

Bulimia Nervosa

The world we live in has always been much too focused on the physical. Even if everyone knows and acknowledges that what’s important is the ‘beauty inside’, it still doesn’t change the fact that people still put much stock on what they see outside when they judge a person. Since being thin is a vital aspect in today’s concept of beauty, a lot of people want to be thin; some even want to be super model thin.

Unfortunately, “thin” by today’s standards, is something that’s horribly hard to achieve. You can be sure that you’ll have to forsake all the best tasting foods just to get the desired body weight. So, in truth, most people don’t really go as far as the supermodels do. After all, supermodels get paid to do what they do. Regular folk, on the other hand, don’t need to stick by such a rigid diet, especially when there’s strawberry soufflé to be had. That’s just the way of the world; you can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time.

Those with Bulimia Nervosa, however, are trying to get around this simple principle. You can call it ‘cheating’ but in reality, it’s just paying a far larger price for external “beauty” than it’s really worth. They’re paying for it with their health.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders nowadays, with a prevalence rate that is three times than that of Anorexia Nervosa. Of course, this is quite understandable. After all, how many times have we wished for the ability to eat everything we want and not get fat?

People with Bulimia Nervosa have found a way to achieve this. They would go on an eating binge, taking in all the food they want. After this binge, they would start ‘purging’ the food out of their system. The most common form of ‘purging’ would be self-induced vomiting, which they do by tickling the back of the throat with their fingers. Other forms of purging include exercising excessively and using laxatives.

As expected, Bulimia Nervosa is more common in women than in men; in fact, most eating disorders are more common in women than in men. Its onset can occur at any point in a person’s life. However, it mostly happens during the late teens when body image is a big issue. If left untreated, Bulimia may last until adulthood.

According to statistics, eight out of every one hundred women suffer from bulimia in their lifetime. Ten out of every eleven sufferers, moreover, are female.

What causes Bulimia Nervosa?

The cause of Bulimia Nervosa, like other psychiatric disorders, has not yet been pinpointed exactly. Studies suggest that this disease can be linked to genetics and that it might involve a disruption in the serotonin system of the brain. Others say that it’s because of a person’s experiences while he/she was a child plus his or her experiences as an adult. Most probably, the true cause of Bulimia Nervosa is a combination of all the different factors: biological, psychological and sociological.

Some people, however, are more at risk of Bulimia than others. First of all, if there’s a family history of Bulimia or any other eating disorder, the family members are more susceptible to Bulimia. Mood disorders like depression may also precipitate eating disorders like Bulimia. In fact, other psychiatric disorders have been shown to have a high comorbidity with Bulimia Nervosa as well as the other eating disorders. This is especially true in cases of borderline personality disorder and depression. Of course, due to the nature of this disorder, substance abuse, particularly of laxatives and emetics, is also a very common occurrence and is present in about 40% of Bulimia Nervosa cases.

People who are holding jobs where maintaining a certain body weight is a premium are also at risk for Bulimia. Gymnasts, models, and dancers are particularly prone to Bulimia Nervosa, especially if they are particularly dedicated to their careers.

What are the Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa?

People with Bulimia would go on a binge because eating gives them comfort. However, after they have eaten too much, they feel guilty for losing control. They subsequently feel dirty and disgusted with themselves. The fear of gaining weight also kicks in and adds its own brand of pressure. To get rid of all these negative feelings, they will purge the food out of their system.

The process of purging does a lot of damage in the long term, especially if left untreated. Repeated vomiting could actually lead to the corrosion of the lining on the esophagus. It may also cause sore throat, mouth ulcers, tooth decay, halitosis, and stomach problems. The repeated use of laxatives, on the other hand, would make a person dependent on them; specifically, the colon may become too weak to function normally and expel waste regularly so a person will become dependent on laxatives for bowel movement. Purging through laxatives may also cause dehydration and severe electrolyte imbalances.

All types of purging, on the other hand, will eventually lead to kidney and heart problems and are thus extremely dangerous and even lethal. Many other health problems can occur along with Bulimia Nervosa. Osteoporosis can happen because a person’s supply of vitamins and minerals may become too deficient.

How to Tell If Someone Has Bulimia

Bulimia Nervosa is different from Anorexia Nervosa. Those who are afflicted with Bulimia are not necessarily very thin. They may have a normal body weight and may sometimes even border on the plus side. Unlike people with Anorexia Nervosa, moreover, those who have Bulimia are aware that they have a problem and they usually take specific precautions to conceal it. The only way that you can really determine whether or not someone has Bulimia Nervosa would be to monitor a person’s behavior. Those who have the habit of going to the bathroom right after she eats should be watched closely. Likewise, those who are rather secretive about food and hides her food from others should also be monitored. Furthermore, those who are so obsessive about exercise that they still perform strenuous exercises even when they are feeling unwell may also be suffering from Bulimia.

Those who have this disorder also tend to faint often due to malnutrition. They base their self-worth on their weight and often overreact if they gain weight. Teeth marks or calluses on the back of someone’s hands may also be a sign of bulimia; such marks are obtained due to the repetitive insertion of their hands into their mouths to induce vomiting. Most of all, when someone tends to overeat but does not gain weight, she probably has Bulimia.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapistAnorexia Nervosa by mehdi jaffari

Anorexia Nervosa

Society has long been riddled with sclerotic traditions that give rise to unjust prejudices and discrimination. So many people have fallen victim to society’s unfair judgments, often suffering needlessly in their attempt to fit society’s notion of desirability or, at the very least, normalcy. History is marked by tragedies caused by society’s narrow-minded ideologies, and while the situation has improved greatly over the years, some such problems still remain. Society’s notion of beauty is one primary example.

“Thin is in”, the media would say. They are concerned with what sells products; they are largely unconcerned with the negative influence that their unending and consistent message has on the youth’s mindset. Meanwhile, in the schools where we send our children, a modern-day version of the prosecution of those who do not fit society’s notion of desirable is taking place. People are ridiculing other people just because they aren’t ‘thin enough’; some are being called ‘ugly’ just because they aren’t ‘thin enough’.

Then of course, even if society is clear about its standards of beauty, it is unclear about what it deems to be sufficient thinness. What exactly does being ‘thin enough’ entail? Does it refer to supermodel-thin? The thinner, the better — is that it? Must people break their backs and compromise their health just to be considered beautiful?

Trying to cope with society’s standards can be a rather harrowing business. Society often has standards that border on the impossible and attempting to pass these standards often have consequences much too serious for the endeavor to be worth doing. Nevertheless, some people, particularly those with Anorexia Nervosa, still try their best to do so – even at the cost of their happiness, their health and, sometimes, even their lives.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which is characterized by a low body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight and becoming fat. People who have anorexia nervosa have a very disturbed body image. They are never satisfied with how they look; in their minds, they’re never ‘thin enough’ even if they’re actually already malnourished due to excessive dieting, excessive exercise, purging, and vomiting.

“Anorexia” is a word that’s commonly misused and taken to mean the same thing as ‘anorexia nervosa’. This should not be the case. Anorexia simply refers to ‘lack of appetite’ and it is, in fact, a symptom for a different disease which may or may not be psychiatric. Anorexia Nervosa, on the other hand, refers to the psychiatric eating disorder itself. ‘Anorexic’ and ‘Anorectic’ are also commonly interchanged. Anorexic is a term used to refer to people who have Anorexia Nervosa, while Anorectic refers to any medication that induces a decrease in appetite.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is most commonly seen in adolescent women. However, it is not exclusive to females; 10% of those who suffer from it are actually male.

What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?

Studies show that Anorexia Nervosa may be linked to genetics; that is, it may run in families. Some link it to a disorder in the neurotransmitter system of the body, possibly due to a disturbance in the function or usage of serotonin. Of course, these biological factors aren’t the only ones at work. Most psychiatric disorders exist due to a number of different causes. They are usually caused by a combination of many different factors. Psychologically, anorexia nervosa’s development may be induced by faulty reasoning and lack of coping skills.

It is commonly thought that people who have Anorexia Nervosa have faulty perception skills – that is, they look at a mirror and see themselves to be less attractive than they really are. Recent studies show, however, that people with Anorexia Nervosa actually lack a sort of ‘overconfidence bias,’ that makes people who have no Anorexia Nervosa think of themselves as more attractive than they actually are. So, in essence, people who have Anorexia Nervosa are actually more accurate at judging themselves. As a result, they are also more critical of their own looks.

Some behavioral or personality traits also predispose a person to Anorexia Nervosa. For example, if the person is obsessive and very driven, she has a greater risk of developing this disorder. If the person is good at resisting temptation and is a perfectionist who has a strong need for control, she will be more prone to Anorexia Nervosa than other people. This condition is also common among those who are achievers in academics or in their work.

Some studies also suggest that physical or sexual abuse during the childhood years puts a person at a high risk for developing Anorexia Nervosa. About 50% of those who were diagnosed with this eating disorder admit to having experienced such abuse.

What are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in several aspects of a human being’s life. Physiologically, anorexia nervosa presents with extreme weight loss, with a body mass index of less than 18.5. The lack of nutrients really takes its toll on the body, so the person may suffer from stunted growth, endocrine disorders, amenorrhea, slow heart rate, hypotension, hypothermia, anemia, and electrolyte imbalances. The hair becomes thin and dry but lanugo hair sprouts all over the body. There is a reduction in white blood cells and therefore a weakening of the body’s immune system. The eyes become sunken and the complexion becomes pasty. The bones and joints are damaged and may creak when moved; the teeth also start decaying.

Psychologically, the person has a distorted body image and has very poor insight. She will judge herself mostly through her body weight and ignore all her other strong points. She is preoccupied by matters concerning food and weight. Several of those with Anorexia Nervosa also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. These people believe that if they can control their food intake or their body weight, they have more control of their lives. They usually deny that they have any problem with their weight or their health. An anorexic usually has very low self-esteem and is constantly moody.

They exercise obsessively, but are very secretive about it. They starve themselves willingly and are thus prone to fainting. They abuse substances like diuretics and laxatives just to maintain their weight and are usually given to suicidal attempts. They are very sensitive when their eating habits are addressed.

Socially, people who have Anorexia Nervosa withdraw from their relationships. Relationships are frayed even more whenever friends and family members try to broach the topic of their eating disorder, their weight or getting medical help.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Eating Disorders by mehdi jaffari

Eating Disorders by mehdi jaffari

It’s a trend that is alarming for a number of reasons. As dangerous as all eating disorders are, they pose a much larger threat to an older person’s health than to a younger person. For instance, a sturdy 20-year-old may be able to overcome the cycle of starving or bingeing and purging; such extremes in the less resilient body of an older person can spell serious heart problems & damage to internal organs. They are literally putting their lives at risk!

Self-Esteem

The one thing I see so much in all sufferers of an Eating Disorder is their low self-esteem.

Often they feel as though they are not good enough, that they never do anything right, that they are scrutinized by others for their appearance and that their lives would get better if they could just lose weight.

Sufferers can feel like they do not deserve to be happy, that they do not deserve good things to happen to them and don’t deserve to have anything but what is felt as a miserable existence. They often feel like a burden to others, trivialize their own problems and feel as though other people deserve help more than them.

However, it is not uncommon for Eating Disorder sufferers to be viewed by others as compassionate, warm, giving, sensitive, and intelligent people. The problem is that each person suffering cannot see the beauty in themselves that others see. Their own hate from within distorts their perception of how truly wonderful they really are.

Signs of Trouble

  • An overuse of drugs, such as “over the counter” weight-loss medication.
  • Over exercising (An unhealthy amount would look something like three to four hours per day every day of the week).
  • A pre-occupation with body image and food intake.

Bulimia Nervosa

A condition in which the person has problems in accepting normal weight, but also where the problem is one of binge eating followed by vomiting and laxatives or other medication abuse. They still may manage to keep a normal body weight but at the cost of a great deal of emotional and physical suffering.

Bulimia is often accompanied by a chaotic lifestyle, not only in terms of eating but also in terms of other aspects of their life. Sufferers from bulimia nervosa may be older than sufferers from anorexia nervosa. Many suffer the symptoms of both conditions, but it is thought that bulimia is three times more common.

Anorexia Nervosa: the Relentless Pursuit of Thinness

  • Person refuses to maintain normal body weight for age and height.
  • Young girls do not begin to menstruate at the appropriate age. Puberty is delayed in both sexes.
  • In women, menstrual periods stop. In men, levels of sex hormones fall. Sex drive disappears or is much diminished.
  • Person denies the dangers of low weight.
  • Sufferers are terrified of gaining weight even though they are alarmingly underweight!

In addition, anorexia nervosa often includes depression, irritability, withdrawal, and strange behaviors such as compulsive rituals and unusual eating habits. They tend to divide food into “good/safe” and “bad/dangerous” categories. Person may have low tolerance for change and new situations and may fear growing up and assuming adult responsibilities and an adult lifestyle.

They may be overly dependent on parents or family. Dieting may represent avoidance of [or attempts to cope with] demands of a new life stage such as adolescence.

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What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?

Studies show that Anorexia Nervosa may be linked to genetics; that is, it may run in families. Some link it to a disorder in the neurotransmitter system of the body, possibly due to a disturbance in the function or usage of serotonin. Of course, these biological factors aren’t the only ones at work. Most psychiatric disorders exist due to a number of different causes. They are usually caused by a combination of many different factors. Psychologically, anorexia nervosa’s development may be induced by faulty reasoning and lack of coping skills.

It is commonly thought that people who have Anorexia Nervosa have faulty perception skills – that is, they look at a mirror and see themselves to be less attractive than they really are. Recent studies show, however, that people with Anorexia Nervosa actually lack a sort of ‘overconfidence bias,’ that makes people who have no Anorexia Nervosa think of themselves as more attractive than they actually are. So, in essence, people who have Anorexia Nervosa are actually more accurate at judging themselves. As a result, they are also more critical of their own looks.

Some behavioral or personality traits also predispose a person to Anorexia Nervosa. For example, if the person is obsessive and very driven, she has a greater risk of developing this disorder. If the person is good at resisting temptation and is a perfectionist who has a strong need for control, she will be more prone to Anorexia Nervosa than other people. This condition is also common among those who are achievers in academics or in their work.

Some studies also suggest that physical or sexual abuse during the childhood years puts a person at a high risk for developing Anorexia Nervosa. About 50% of those who were diagnosed with this eating disorder admit to having experienced such abuse.

What are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in several aspects of a human being’s life. Physiologically, anorexia nervosa presents with extreme weight loss, with a body mass index of less than 18.5. The lack of nutrients really takes its toll on the body, so the person may suffer from stunted growth, endocrine disorders, amenorrhea, slow heart rate, hypotension, hypothermia, anemia, and electrolyte imbalances. The hair becomes thin and dry but lanugo hair sprouts all over the body. There is a reduction in white blood cells and therefore a weakening of the body’s immune system. The eyes become sunken and the complexion becomes pasty. The bones and joints are damaged and may creak when moved; the teeth also start decaying.

Psychologically, the person has a distorted body image and has very poor insight. She will judge herself mostly through her body weight and ignore all her other strong points. She is preoccupied by matters concerning food and weight. Several of those with Anorexia Nervosa also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. These people believe that if they can control their food intake or their body weight, they have more control of their lives. They usually deny that they have any problem with their weight or their health. An anorexic usually has very low self-esteem and is constantly moody.

They exercise obsessively, but are very secretive about it. They starve themselves willingly and are thus prone to fainting. They abuse substances like diuretics and laxatives just to maintain their weight and are usually given to suicidal attempts. They are very sensitive when their eating habits are addressed.

Socially, people who have Anorexia Nervosa withdraw from their relationships. Relationships are frayed even more whenever friends and family members try to broach the topic of their eating disorder, their weight or getting medical help.

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What is Anorexia Nervosa?

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which is characterized by a low body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight and becoming fat. People who have anorexia nervosa have a very disturbed body image. They are never satisfied with how they look; in their minds, they’re never ‘thin enough’ even if they’re actually already malnourished due to excessive dieting, excessive exercise, purging, and vomiting.

“Anorexia” is a word that’s commonly misused and taken to mean the same thing as ‘anorexia nervosa’. This should not be the case. Anorexia simply refers to ‘lack of appetite’ and it is, in fact, a symptom for a different disease which may or may not be psychiatric. Anorexia Nervosa, on the other hand, refers to the psychiatric eating disorder itself. ‘Anorexic’ and ‘Anorectic’ are also commonly interchanged. Anorexic is a term used to refer to people who have Anorexia Nervosa, while Anorectic refers to any medication that induces a decrease in appetite.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is most commonly seen in adolescent women. However, it is not exclusive to females; 10% of those who suffer from it are actually male.

What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?

Studies show that Anorexia Nervosa may be linked to genetics; that is, it may run in families. Some link it to a disorder in the neurotransmitter system of the body, possibly due to a disturbance in the function or usage of serotonin. Of course, these biological factors aren’t the only ones at work. Most psychiatric disorders exist due to a number of different causes. They are usually caused by a combination of many different factors. Psychologically, anorexia nervosa’s development may be induced by faulty reasoning and lack of coping skills.

It is commonly thought that people who have Anorexia Nervosa have faulty perception skills – that is, they look at a mirror and see themselves to be less attractive than they really are. Recent studies show, however, that people with Anorexia Nervosa actually lack a sort of ‘overconfidence bias,’ that makes people who have no Anorexia Nervosa think of themselves as more attractive than they actually are. So, in essence, people who have Anorexia Nervosa are actually more accurate at judging themselves. As a result, they are also more critical of their own looks.

Some behavioral or personality traits also predispose a person to Anorexia Nervosa. For example, if the person is obsessive and very driven, she has a greater risk of developing this disorder. If the person is good at resisting temptation and is a perfectionist who has a strong need for control, she will be more prone to Anorexia Nervosa than other people. This condition is also common among those who are achievers in academics or in their work.

Some studies also suggest that physical or sexual abuse during the childhood years puts a person at a high risk for developing Anorexia Nervosa. About 50% of those who were diagnosed with this eating disorder admit to having experienced such abuse.

What are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in several aspects of a human being’s life. Physiologically, anorexia nervosa presents with extreme weight loss, with a body mass index of less than 18.5. The lack of nutrients really takes its toll on the body, so the person may suffer from stunted growth, endocrine disorders, amenorrhea, slow heart rate, hypotension, hypothermia, anemia, and electrolyte imbalances. The hair becomes thin and dry but lanugo hair sprouts all over the body. There is a reduction in white blood cells and therefore a weakening of the body’s immune system. The eyes become sunken and the complexion becomes pasty. The bones and joints are damaged and may creak when moved; the teeth also start decaying.

Psychologically, the person has a distorted body image and has very poor insight. She will judge herself mostly through her body weight and ignore all her other strong points. She is preoccupied by matters concerning food and weight. Several of those with Anorexia Nervosa also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. These people believe that if they can control their food intake or their body weight, they have more control of their lives. They usually deny that they have any problem with their weight or their health. An anorexic usually has very low self-esteem and is constantly moody.

They exercise obsessively, but are very secretive about it. They starve themselves willingly and are thus prone to fainting. They abuse substances like diuretics and laxatives just to maintain their weight and are usually given to suicidal attempts. They are very sensitive when their eating habits are addressed.

Socially, people who have Anorexia Nervosa withdraw from their relationships. Relationships are frayed even more whenever friends and family members try to broach the topic of their eating disorder, their weight or getting medical help.

Posted in Eating Disorders
Tags:

Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem

The one thing I see so much in all sufferers of an Eating Disorder is their low self-esteem.

Often they feel as though they are not good enough, that they never do anything right, that they are scrutinized by others for their appearance and that their lives would get better if they could just lose weight.

Sufferers can feel like they do not deserve to be happy, that they do not deserve good things to happen to them and don’t deserve to have anything but what is felt as a miserable existence. They often feel like a burden to others, trivialize their own problems and feel as though other people deserve help more than them.

However, it is not uncommon for Eating Disorder sufferers to be viewed by others as compassionate, warm, giving, sensitive, and intelligent people. The problem is that each person suffering cannot see the beauty in themselves that others see. Their own hate from within distorts their perception of how truly wonderful they really are.

Signs of Trouble

  • An overuse of drugs, such as “over the counter” weight-loss medication.
  • Over exercising (An unhealthy amount would look something like three to four hours per day every day of the week).
  • A pre-occupation with body image and food intake.

Bulimia Nervosa

A condition in which the person has problems in accepting normal weight, but also where the problem is one of binge eating followed by vomiting and laxatives or other medication abuse. They still may manage to keep a normal body weight but at the cost of a great deal of emotional and physical suffering.

Bulimia is often accompanied by a chaotic lifestyle, not only in terms of eating but also in terms of other aspects of their life. Sufferers from bulimia nervosa may be older than sufferers from anorexia nervosa. Many suffer the symptoms of both conditions, but it is thought that bulimia is three times more common.

Anorexia Nervosa: the Relentless Pursuit of Thinness

  • Person refuses to maintain normal body weight for age and height.
  • Young girls do not begin to menstruate at the appropriate age. Puberty is delayed in both sexes.
  • In women, menstrual periods stop. In men, levels of sex hormones fall. Sex drive disappears or is much diminished.
  • Person denies the dangers of low weight.
  • Sufferers are terrified of gaining weight even though they are alarmingly underweight!

In addition, anorexia nervosa often includes depression, irritability, withdrawal, and strange behaviors such as compulsive rituals and unusual eating habits. They tend to divide food into “good/safe” and “bad/dangerous” categories. Person may have low tolerance for change and new situations and may fear growing up and assuming adult responsibilities and an adult lifestyle.

They may be overly dependent on parents or family. Dieting may represent avoidance of [or attempts to cope with] demands of a new life stage such as adolescence.

Posted in Eating Disorders
Tags:

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive Overeating

Do you ‘eat to live’ or do you ‘live to eat’? For most people, it’s a little of both. Most of the time, eating is merely just a part of a routine that we do to get through the day in one piece. At other times, however, eating becomes a great source of enjoyment and pleasure; this happens when we eat at a gourmet restaurant or when we try that exquisite, new cuisine. It’s perfectly okay to love food – it is, after all, both a source of joy and a source of sustenance. It is, however, completely wrong when someone loves food to the point of obsession. At that point, ‘eating to live’ turns into ‘eating to die’.

Indeed, Food Addiction is a condition that can easily turn fatal if not curbed. And it is important to know exactly when love for food is normal and when it’s not.

What is Compulsive Overeating?

Compulsive Overeating is an eating disorder which is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to eat. This uncontrollable overeating is often called ‘binging’. It’s the same thing that people with Bulimia Nervosa do. But the difference with compulsive overeaters is that they do not feel the need to purge themselves of the food they have eaten, thereby resulting in intense weight gain.

During binge episodes, those who are afflicted usually continue to consume food despite the fact that they are already full. Moreover, although compulsive overeaters never feel the urge to purge themselves through vomiting or through laxative use, they are not exempt from the feelings of guilt and shame that are associated with losing control during binge episodes.

After they undergo a binge, they usually go on serious diets which they will most likely fail because of their attachment to food. This failure will then lead to greater disappointment and thus a greater need for comfort, which then leads to another binge episode.

Binging is not the only thing that characterizes this disorder, however. There is such a thing as ‘grazing’ behavior, which usually occurs when the person is not having a binging episode. While ‘grazing’, the person would commonly eat small portions of food continuously throughout the day. This results in an excessive intake of carbohydrates and even more weight gain.

When the weight gain is mostly through binging, however, a more specific term for the disorder is used, and that is ‘binge-eating disorder’.

However, unlike the other eating disorders – namely, Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa – the percentage of males who overeat are rather high. Compulsive overeating is commonly associated with obesity, as a lot of people who are obese become that way because of their binging habits. However, it should be noted that not all people who are obese have the compulsive overeating disorder.

What Causes Compulsive Overeating?

The onset of Compulsive Overeating starts at childhood, right when a person’s eating habits were being formed. It is said that when parents force their children to finish their meals even if they’re already full or when parents press their children to eat more than they can, the children are likely to overeat once they become adults. Similarly, parents who always use the inducement of food as a means of placating or rewarding their children may actually predispose their children to compulsive overeating.

The most common reason for binging, and therefore for compulsive overeating, is to facilitate coping. It’s some sort of defense mechanism for some people, a way of comforting themselves. Binging, therefore, is rather common during times of stress.

Some people also overeat because it is their means of protecting themselves. People who have a history of sexual abuse may think that becoming fat will make them less attractive and therefore less likely to be noticed by people and less likely to be subjected to the same abuse that they have experienced before.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Overeating?

People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are usually overweight, sometimes even obese. Since they can’t control their eating habits, they usually end up weighing more than they should. They are typically unhealthy and thus become susceptible to other serious conditions like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.

If the weight gain is severe enough, the person may also experience mobility problems. Some of those who are morbidly obese cannot move themselves without external aid. Arthritis, Sciatica, and Varicose Veins are also rather common in people with this disorder, mainly because all of these are exacerbated by excessive weight. Their sleeping patterns are usually disturbed and they also usually have high blood pressure. They often present with shortness of breath and very high cholesterol levels. They are also rather at risk for kidney diseases and are in danger of suffering from a stroke.

These people usually eat even if they don’t feel hungry. They spend much of their time fantasizing about food, although they mostly do this secretly. They eat rapidly and sometimes messily. They also prefer to eat alone because their eating habits make them feel ashamed; despite being overweight, people with Compulsive Overeating Disorder usually do not eat much when they are in public.

They’re usually preoccupied with their body weight but are often caught in a vicious cycle of weight gain and weight loss. They immediately regain whatever fat they have lost in a failed diet. They usually have a history of weight fluctuations and they are usually known to have tried and failed at several diets over the years.

People who have compulsive eating disorder may often seem depressed and may have frequent mood swings. They are not in denial about their disorder and are fully aware that their eating patterns are not normal. To cope with this, they would go on diets, but as earlier mentioned, they usually fail to follow through because they are addicted to food.

They also tend to withdraw from social situations because their weight makes them feel inadequate. They tend to have low self esteem and usually believe wholeheartedly that their problems will be fixed and that they will become better people if they can only become thinner. They center their whole lives on their weight, and often attribute all of their failures, both socially and academically, to their weight.

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Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

The world we live in has always been much too focused on the physical. Even if everyone knows and acknowledges that what’s important is the ‘beauty inside’, it still doesn’t change the fact that people still put much stock on what they see outside when they judge a person. Since being thin is a vital aspect in today’s concept of beauty, a lot of people want to be thin; some even want to be super model thin.

Unfortunately, “thin” by today’s standards, is something that’s horribly hard to achieve. You can be sure that you’ll have to forsake all the best tasting foods just to get the desired body weight. So, in truth, most people don’t really go as far as the supermodels do. After all, supermodels get paid to do what they do. Regular folk, on the other hand, don’t need to stick by such a rigid diet, especially when there’s strawberry soufflé to be had. That’s just the way of the world; you can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time.

Those with Bulimia Nervosa, however, are trying to get around this simple principle. You can call it ‘cheating’ but in reality, it’s just paying a far larger price for external “beauty” than it’s really worth. They’re paying for it with their health.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders nowadays, with a prevalence rate that is three times than that of Anorexia Nervosa. Of course, this is quite understandable. After all, how many times have we wished for the ability to eat everything we want and not get fat?

People with Bulimia Nervosa have found a way to achieve this. They would go on an eating binge, taking in all the food they want. After this binge, they would start ‘purging’ the food out of their system. The most common form of ‘purging’ would be self-induced vomiting, which they do by tickling the back of the throat with their fingers. Other forms of purging include exercising excessively and using laxatives.

As expected, Bulimia Nervosa is more common in women than in men; in fact, most eating disorders are more common in women than in men. Its onset can occur at any point in a person’s life. However, it mostly happens during the late teens when body image is a big issue. If left untreated, Bulimia may last until adulthood.

According to statistics, eight out of every one hundred women suffer from bulimia in their lifetime. Ten out of every eleven sufferers, moreover, are female.

What causes Bulimia Nervosa?

The cause of Bulimia Nervosa, like other psychiatric disorders, has not yet been pinpointed exactly. Studies suggest that this disease can be linked to genetics and that it might involve a disruption in the serotonin system of the brain. Others say that it’s because of a person’s experiences while he/she was a child plus his or her experiences as an adult. Most probably, the true cause of Bulimia Nervosa is a combination of all the different factors: biological, psychological and sociological.

Some people, however, are more at risk of Bulimia than others. First of all, if there’s a family history of Bulimia or any other eating disorder, the family members are more susceptible to Bulimia. Mood disorders like depression may also precipitate eating disorders like Bulimia. In fact, other psychiatric disorders have been shown to have a high comorbidity with Bulimia Nervosa as well as the other eating disorders. This is especially true in cases of borderline personality disorder and depression. Of course, due to the nature of this disorder, substance abuse, particularly of laxatives and emetics, is also a very common occurrence and is present in about 40% of Bulimia Nervosa cases.

People who are holding jobs where maintaining a certain body weight is a premium are also at risk for Bulimia. Gymnasts, models, and dancers are particularly prone to Bulimia Nervosa, especially if they are particularly dedicated to their careers.

What are the Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa?

People with Bulimia would go on a binge because eating gives them comfort. However, after they have eaten too much, they feel guilty for losing control. They subsequently feel dirty and disgusted with themselves. The fear of gaining weight also kicks in and adds its own brand of pressure. To get rid of all these negative feelings, they will purge the food out of their system.

The process of purging does a lot of damage in the long term, especially if left untreated. Repeated vomiting could actually lead to the corrosion of the lining on the esophagus. It may also cause sore throat, mouth ulcers, tooth decay, halitosis, and stomach problems. The repeated use of laxatives, on the other hand, would make a person dependent on them; specifically, the colon may become too weak to function normally and expel waste regularly so a person will become dependent on laxatives for bowel movement. Purging through laxatives may also cause dehydration and severe electrolyte imbalances.

All types of purging, on the other hand, will eventually lead to kidney and heart problems and are thus extremely dangerous and even lethal. Many other health problems can occur along with Bulimia Nervosa. Osteoporosis can happen because a person’s supply of vitamins and minerals may become too deficient.

How to Tell If Someone Has Bulimia

Bulimia Nervosa is different from Anorexia Nervosa. Those who are afflicted with Bulimia are not necessarily very thin. They may have a normal body weight and may sometimes even border on the plus side. Unlike people with Anorexia Nervosa, moreover, those who have Bulimia are aware that they have a problem and they usually take specific precautions to conceal it. The only way that you can really determine whether or not someone has Bulimia Nervosa would be to monitor a person’s behavior. Those who have the habit of going to the bathroom right after she eats should be watched closely. Likewise, those who are rather secretive about food and hides her food from others should also be monitored. Furthermore, those who are so obsessive about exercise that they still perform strenuous exercises even when they are feeling unwell may also be suffering from Bulimia.

Those who have this disorder also tend to faint often due to malnutrition. They base their self-worth on their weight and often overreact if they gain weight. Teeth marks or calluses on the back of someone’s hands may also be a sign of bulimia; such marks are obtained due to the repetitive insertion of their hands into their mouths to induce vomiting. Most of all, when someone tends to overeat but does not gain weight, she probably has Bulimia.

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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa

Society has long been riddled with sclerotic traditions that give rise to unjust prejudices and discrimination. So many people have fallen victim to society’s unfair judgments, often suffering needlessly in their attempt to fit society’s notion of desirability or, at the very least, normalcy. History is marked by tragedies caused by society’s narrow-minded ideologies, and while the situation has improved greatly over the years, some such problems still remain. Society’s notion of beauty is one primary example.

“Thin is in”, the media would say. They are concerned with what sells products; they are largely unconcerned with the negative influence that their unending and consistent message has on the youth’s mindset. Meanwhile, in the schools where we send our children, a modern-day version of the prosecution of those who do not fit society’s notion of desirable is taking place. People are ridiculing other people just because they aren’t ‘thin enough’; some are being called ‘ugly’ just because they aren’t ‘thin enough’.

Then of course, even if society is clear about its standards of beauty, it is unclear about what it deems to be sufficient thinness. What exactly does being ‘thin enough’ entail? Does it refer to supermodel-thin? The thinner, the better — is that it? Must people break their backs and compromise their health just to be considered beautiful?

Trying to cope with society’s standards can be a rather harrowing business. Society often has standards that border on the impossible and attempting to pass these standards often have consequences much too serious for the endeavor to be worth doing. Nevertheless, some people, particularly those with Anorexia Nervosa, still try their best to do so – even at the cost of their happiness, their health and, sometimes, even their lives.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which is characterized by a low body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight and becoming fat. People who have anorexia nervosa have a very disturbed body image. They are never satisfied with how they look; in their minds, they’re never ‘thin enough’ even if they’re actually already malnourished due to excessive dieting, excessive exercise, purging, and vomiting.

“Anorexia” is a word that’s commonly misused and taken to mean the same thing as ‘anorexia nervosa’. This should not be the case. Anorexia simply refers to ‘lack of appetite’ and it is, in fact, a symptom for a different disease which may or may not be psychiatric. Anorexia Nervosa, on the other hand, refers to the psychiatric eating disorder itself. ‘Anorexic’ and ‘Anorectic’ are also commonly interchanged. Anorexic is a term used to refer to people who have Anorexia Nervosa, while Anorectic refers to any medication that induces a decrease in appetite.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is most commonly seen in adolescent women. However, it is not exclusive to females; 10% of those who suffer from it are actually male.

What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?

Studies show that Anorexia Nervosa may be linked to genetics; that is, it may run in families. Some link it to a disorder in the neurotransmitter system of the body, possibly due to a disturbance in the function or usage of serotonin. Of course, these biological factors aren’t the only ones at work. Most psychiatric disorders exist due to a number of different causes. They are usually caused by a combination of many different factors. Psychologically, anorexia nervosa’s development may be induced by faulty reasoning and lack of coping skills.

It is commonly thought that people who have Anorexia Nervosa have faulty perception skills – that is, they look at a mirror and see themselves to be less attractive than they really are. Recent studies show, however, that people with Anorexia Nervosa actually lack a sort of ‘overconfidence bias,’ that makes people who have no Anorexia Nervosa think of themselves as more attractive than they actually are. So, in essence, people who have Anorexia Nervosa are actually more accurate at judging themselves. As a result, they are also more critical of their own looks.

Some behavioral or personality traits also predispose a person to Anorexia Nervosa. For example, if the person is obsessive and very driven, she has a greater risk of developing this disorder. If the person is good at resisting temptation and is a perfectionist who has a strong need for control, she will be more prone to Anorexia Nervosa than other people. This condition is also common among those who are achievers in academics or in their work.

Some studies also suggest that physical or sexual abuse during the childhood years puts a person at a high risk for developing Anorexia Nervosa. About 50% of those who were diagnosed with this eating disorder admit to having experienced such abuse.

What are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in several aspects of a human being’s life. Physiologically, anorexia nervosa presents with extreme weight loss, with a body mass index of less than 18.5. The lack of nutrients really takes its toll on the body, so the person may suffer from stunted growth, endocrine disorders, amenorrhea, slow heart rate, hypotension, hypothermia, anemia, and electrolyte imbalances. The hair becomes thin and dry but lanugo hair sprouts all over the body. There is a reduction in white blood cells and therefore a weakening of the body’s immune system. The eyes become sunken and the complexion becomes pasty. The bones and joints are damaged and may creak when moved; the teeth also start decaying.

Psychologically, the person has a distorted body image and has very poor insight. She will judge herself mostly through her body weight and ignore all her other strong points. She is preoccupied by matters concerning food and weight. Several of those with Anorexia Nervosa also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. These people believe that if they can control their food intake or their body weight, they have more control of their lives. They usually deny that they have any problem with their weight or their health. An anorexic usually has very low self-esteem and is constantly moody.

They exercise obsessively, but are very secretive about it. They starve themselves willingly and are thus prone to fainting. They abuse substances like diuretics and laxatives just to maintain their weight and are usually given to suicidal attempts. They are very sensitive when their eating habits are addressed.

Socially, people who have Anorexia Nervosa withdraw from their relationships. Relationships are frayed even more whenever friends and family members try to broach the topic of their eating disorder, their weight or getting medical help.

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