How to Overcome Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental disorders when consuming food. People with this disorder can consume too little or too much food, and are obsessed with body weight or body shape.

There are several types of eating disorders, but the three most common types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders. This disorder can occur at any age, but more often experienced by adolescents, around the age of 13 to 17 years.

The cause of this eating disorder is usually a combination of genetic factors, biological factors, and psychological problems. To handle this, psychiatrists can do psychotherapy, and give antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Symptoms felt by people with eating disorders vary, depending on the type of disorder. Symptoms of an overeating disorder usually include:

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that makes sufferers want to immediately dispose of the food they consume in an unhealthy way, including by:

  • Vomit back food that has been eaten.
  • Use laxatives or drugs that dispose of body fluids.

The action was carried out because the sufferer felt guilty having eaten a lot and was afraid of excess weight. As a result of his behavior, people with bulimia can feel interference in the form of:

  • Inflammation in the throat.
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw.
  • Severe dehydration due to lack of fluids.
  • Indigestion, such as acid reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Tooth sensitive and damaged.
  • Electrolyte disturbance.

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Anorexia nervosa

This disorder makes sufferers limit their food intake because they feel excessive body weight, even though in reality, his body is slim or even too thin. Anorexia nervosa sufferers will also weigh their weight repeatedly.

Too little calorie intake in patients with anorexia nervosa can cause disorders such as:

The growth of hair or fine hairs throughout the body (lanugo).

  • Dry skin.
  • Muscle becomes weak.
  • Often feel cold due to low body temperature.
  • Menstruation becomes irregular, does not even experience menstruation.
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure.
  • Anemia or lack of blood.
  • Bone loss.
  • Some organs do not function (multiorgan failure).

The above disorders can be fatal so that the sufferer dies. Hunger can also cause sufferers to feel so hopeless that they attempt suicide.

Overeating disorders

On going to eat quickly and in very large portions, although not hungry. Overeating, sufferers often lose self-control when eating. As a result, people with this disorder will have excess weight or obesity. Symptoms of an overeating disorder usually include:

  • Eat large amounts of food.
  • Eat very fast.
  • Keep eating when the stomach is full.
  • Hide when you eat because you are embarrassed when you see someone.

When to see a doctor

If you feel you have one of the eating disorders above, consult a psychiatrist immediately, because eating disorders are generally difficult to overcome without the help of a doctor.

But unfortunately, people who experience eating disorders often do not feel that they need help. If you are worried about someone’s unusual behavior when eating, try to talk to him about the odd behavior and persuade him to consult with a psychiatrist.

Strange behaviors that need to be watched out for include:

  • Regarding eating is not an important thing and not eating is a natural thing.
  • Always worrying about weight and being very afraid of being fat.
  • Mirror often.
  • Use supplements, herbal remedies, or laxatives for weight loss.
  • Tend to avoid eating with family or friends.

Causes of Eating Disorders

So far, the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But as with other mental disorders, eating disorders can occur due to a combination of several factors, including:

  • Genetic
    Some cases of eating disorders are found in people who have certain genes. This gene can facilitate the triggering of eating disorders.
  • Heredity
    In addition, eating disorders are also generally experienced by people who have parents or siblings with a history of the same disorder.
  • Biological
    Changes in chemicals in the brain can play a role in causing eating disorders.
  • Psychological (mental state)
    Eating disorders are often found in people who also experience anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

In addition to these causes, a number of conditions that can also increase a person’s risk of eating disorders are:

  • A teenager
    Adolescents are prone to eating disorders because they tend to pay more attention to their image or appearance.
  • Excessive dieting
    Hunger due to a diet that is too strict can affect the brain, so it actually creates an urge to overeat.
  • Stress
    Various problems that cause stress, both at work, family, and social relationships, can increase the risk of eating disorders.

Diagnosis of Eating Disorders

Someone can be said to have an eating disorder if the symptoms have been going on for at least 3 months. At the initial examination, the psychiatrist will dig deeper into the outlook, feelings, and eating habits of the patient to determine the patient’s attitude towards food and eating patterns.

If there is indeed an eating disorder, the psychiatrist will conduct another examination to determine the effects of the eating disorder.

The psychiatrist will check the height and weight, heart rate, and blood pressure of the patient. The psychiatrist will also observe the presence of dryness of the skin and hair and the fragility of the nails, which is the impact of bulimia. Further tests to be carried out include:

  • Blood and urine tests
    This examination aims to determine the number of blood cells, liver function, kidney function, and thyroid hormones.
  • Scanning
    X-rays can be taken to determine whether there is a fracture due to bone loss in anorexia or bulimia sufferers.
  • Electrocardiography
    Electrocardiography (ECG) is used to determine the patient’s heart condition.

Treatment of Eating Disorders

Management of eating disorders will involve a team consisting of doctors, psychiatrists, and nutritionists. The goal of treatment is to help patients re-implement a healthy diet. Handling efforts include:

This therapy can help sufferers to change bad eating habits into healthy eating patterns. There are two therapies that can be used, namely:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to recognize, understand, and change behavior, especially those related to diet.
  • Family-based therapy
    This therapy is carried out on children or adolescents involving the family. The aim is to ensure that the patient follows a healthy diet and maintains ideal body weight.


Drugs can not cure eating disorders. Even so, antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs can be used to control the urge to overeat or prevent the urge to vomit food.

These drugs can also overcome excessive worries about certain foods or diets.

If the sufferer becomes malnourished, the doctor will advise the patient to be treated in the hospital.
Complications of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can cause various complications. The more severe and prolonged eating disorders, the greater the risk of complications. Complications that can occur due to eating disorders are:

  • Stunted growth.
  • Mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, even to the point of committing suicide.
  • Decreased school performance or work quality.
  • Disruption of social relations.
  • Impaired organ function.

Prevention of Eating Disorders

Although there is no sure way to prevent eating disorders, there are several efforts that can foster healthy eating behavior in adolescents, for example:

  • Prevent Diet Efforts
    To prevent this, parents can get used to eating with family and discuss the importance of a balanced diet with reasonable portions.
  • Take the time to talk
    This method can prevent dangerous lifestyles in adolescents. Talking to children can change their thinking so that they can understand healthy eating patterns.
  • Cultivating a Healthy Physical Appearance Image
    Parents need to develop self-confidence in children. In addition, do not mock or bad-mouth your own appearance in front of children, let alone ridicule the physical appearance of children, even if only joking.


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