HOW TO KNOW WHETHER YOU HAVE AN EATING DISORDER?

BY: VAIBHAVI MENON

“Eat good, feel good.” Food is an essential part of our survival and it can bring us both pleasure and harm. From the womb to the tomb, food is what gives us the nutrients and satisfaction we deserve. Yet food can have some fatal effects which varies from person to person. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness, characterized by eating, exercise and body weight or shape becoming an unhealthy preoccupation of someone’s life. Often people don’t even realize they could be suffering from a eating disorder and this where it becomes a issue.

Symptoms of an eating disorder vary from person to person because they could be suffering from different disorders. Some examples of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. we can identify symptoms based on In general, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, and dieting, Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.), Appears uncomfortable eating around others, Food rituals (e.g. eats only a particular food or food group [e.g. condiments], excessive chewing, doesn’t allow foods to touch), Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals, Any new practices with food or fad diets, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism), Withdrawal from usual friends and activities, Frequent dieting, Extreme concern with body size and shape,  Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance and Extreme mood swings.Some physical symptoms could be Noticeable fluctuations in weight, both up and down, Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.), Menstrual irregularities — missing periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period), Difficulties concentrating, Abnormal laboratory findings (anemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low white and red blood cell counts), Dizziness, especially upon standing, Fainting/syncope, Feeling cold all the time, Sleep problems, Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting), Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity, Dry skin and hair, and brittle nails, Swelling around area of salivary glands, Fine hair on body (lanugo), Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting, Muscle weakness, Yellow skin (in context of eating large amounts of carrots), Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet, Poor wound healing, Impaired immune functioning Inspite of these signs most tend to ignore it as they are so obsessed with changing themselves that they dont notice the damage they are doing to their body. Therefore these insecurities can have really fatal effects on us without our knowledge. Usually the need to change their body comes through different sources such as family media and other institutions.

It’s important to know that you should know when you have reached your limit and not overwork yourself. if you see signs of an eating disorder its important to visit a doctor or talk to your loved ones for them to help you because in the end of all this your happiness is the priority.