An eating disorder is an illness that entails significant upheavals in the affected individual's eating patterns. Eating disorders could either be the tendency of being always preoccupied with food or eating less than what's recommended or required. A person with an eating disorder is usually very obese or anorexic.

Contrary to general perception, eating disorders are more than what meets the eye. They are more than just wanting to eat more food or not wanting to eat at all. In other words, they have quite a bit to do with the affected mental health as well, which calls for medical and psychological interventions.

In various scenarios, eating disorders occur in combination with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic, and drug and alcohol abuse problems. Without treating both the physical and emotional symptoms of the disorder, malnutrition, heart issues, and other fatal conditions could be the result.

Eating Disorder Symptoms

People with eating disorders could exhibit a range of symptoms. However, the symptoms that are usually common across the board include:

  • Food binges
  • Severe food intake restrictions
  • Purging behaviors such as vomiting
  • Over-exercising

Though eating disorders can affect people of any age or gender, they are typically found in young women and adolescents.

The Causes of an Eating Disorder

Experts, such as Dr. Mark Schwartz, believe there are a variety of factors causing eating disorders.

Genetics and personality traits are among them. According to a research study conducted on two twins separated at birth, it was discovered that despite being raised by two different families, eating disorders in one twin increased the likelihood of eating disorders in the other twin by up to 50 percent.

Perfectionism, neuroticism, and impulsivity are personal traits commonly linked to developing eating disorders. Other potential causes could be peer pressure to look thin, certain cultural biases, and media exposure and its influence. The impact of the media could be so strong that societies that have had zero exposure to the Western norms of "thinness" have almost no eating disorder problems.

Differences in biology and brain structure could also play a part in eating disorder developments. Mainly, serotonin and dopamine levels could be factors.

Types of Eating Disorders 

There are different types of eating disorders, but the ones mentioned below are the most common.

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a pretty common eating disorder. It usually develops during young adulthood or adolescence and is likely to affect women more than men. People with this disorder perceive themselves as obese, even if the reality is the polar opposite. As a result, they monitor their weight regularly, totally shun certain kinds of foods, and restrict their calorie intake significantly.

Bulimia nervosa

Like anorexia, bulimia nervosa usually develops during early adulthood and adolescence and is also gender-biased or impacts women more. People with this condition tend to consume large quantities of food during a specific period. Binge eating continues until the individual cannot ingest anything. To manage the discomfort associated with such incessant eating, individuals with bulimia resort to purging measures that include fasting, forced vomiting, diuretics, laxatives, enemas, and excessive exercising.

Eating Disorder Treatment

For patients with anorexia nervosa, treatment entails helping the patient regain a healthy weight. Patients with bulimia nervosa, on the other hand, can be helped by causing an interruption in their binge-purge cycle.

However, restoring the healthy weight of an individual or bringing a temporary halt to their binge-purge cycles doesn't address the emotional problems linked to the condition. Psychotherapy and other treatments that help understand the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors triggering these disorders are necessary. Some medications could also help treat the condition from its roots.


An eating disorder is something your general physician may not be able to interpret or properly diagnose. Get in touch with an expert who specializes in the study and treatment of this particular kind of illness.

Contact Dr. Mark Schwartz and Harmony Place Monterey if you'd like to learn the underlying causes of your eating disorder and benefit from a combination of treatments and therapies so that you can recover your eating disorders for good.



Author's Bio: 

Hazel Sansbury is a content writer and a copywriter specializes in Fitness, Health, and Legal writing.