Eating Disorders can only be described as a living hell. They consume every minute of your waking hours where the sufferer is so caught up in counting calories, reading the back of packets, measuring and weighing food, thinking when and where they are going to binge and how to sneak away to throw it all back up.

They eat a piece of cake and then they feel compelled to go for a 10k run to burn off the calories they think they have just consumed. Or they swallow laxatives and spend the next 3 hours on the toilet. Or they simply put their fingers down their throat and throw up.

Now do you see why these disorders are a living hell?
Not only that but they are slowly killing themselves and reducing their lifespan by 10 to 20 years.

And the really sad part is they know they are doing it but can't stop. Most people’s reaction to this is for the anorexic to just start eating again with comments like ‘eat you idiot just eat’. Or for the bulimic to stop binging and purging what’s so hard about that, do this and all will be well. But I wish it was that simple, but it is not.

You see an ED is a deep psychological problem that lives in the subconscious mind of the sufferer and it really has nothing to do with food. Food is only a symptom of the disorder, a way that the sufferer feels they have some kind of control in their lives. Sure in the beginning to the sufferer this may have been the case, but in the end the ED controls them 100%. It dictates everything they do or say and controls them with an iron fist.

To you the casual reader you may not understand how such a thing can happen to someone and it is hard for you to think of a reason why. But it can be caused by many things even something as simple as being called fat at school. Or just wanting to shed a few kilos to look better or it can be a violent episode in their life like sexual assault or verbal abuse.

It could even be as simple as not getting enough love and attention from their parents. No matter what the cause is, to the sufferer these are very real.

I have been told by many sufferers that their ED is like getting on an escalator, you know you are on it but you can’t find a way off. This is because you are so totally consumed by the ED you have become a slave to it.

I will make it perfectly clear, if you know someone with and ED then realize they can not simply stop by themselves. It would be like you trying to stop breathing air, it can’t be done.

So what to do? Well the good way that actually works is to find a self help program that will address all the things that stop the ED sufferer from getting better. One that deals with the problem in a sympathetic way and is non-confrontational where the sufferer knows they are in a safe environment.

Emotional consequences can be eased by finding a good self help program if a person is willing to understand and accept that she/he has a problem. If the person denies the problem she/he probably needs to find extra help from a reliable source.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program which covers different areas of Women Health. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker.