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Eating disorders, what is it? How is it classified? What are the causes and consequences?

Thin woman tries on big size jeans against mirror, weight loss, anorexia. Fat or calories burning concept, medical illness
Thin woman tries on big size jeans against mirror, weight loss, anorexia. Fat or calories burning concept, medical illness
Eating disorders affect millions of people around the world, according to statistics from The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, about 70 million people worldwide suffer from them. This is a problem for many age and social groups. They have many causes and are sometimes difficult to see among their loved ones. They are very dangerous, so it is worthwhile to get to know them more closely, understand their causes and specifics and, most importantly, learn about treatment and prevention.

Eating disorders

WHO classifies eating disorders as mental disorders, they belong to the group of behavioural disorders associated with physiological disorders and mental factors. Generally speaking, such disorders are mental and have consequences for physical health. Eating disorders can affect any person of any age, but they are most common among teenagers and people entering into adult life. Women are more often affected than men.

Causes of eating disorders

Naukowcy podkreślają, że dokładne przyczyny zaburzeń odżywiania nie są jeszcze znane, ma na to wpływ wiele czynników, które zależne są one od typu choroby. Do najczęstszych przyczyn należą:
– wpływ środowiska:
dążenie za ideałem piękna, stworzonym przez media i reklamy (ogólny nacisk społeczeństwa);
– potrzeba kontrolowania swojego życia:
często osoby z zaburzeniami odżywiania przyznają, że stracili kontrolę nad swoim życiem, przykładowo nie radziły sobie w pracy lub szkole, czy stracili bliską osobę. w takiej sytuacji chorobliwie kontrolowali swoje posiłki i sposób odżywiania, dzięki temu czuli, że panują nad swoim życiem;
– problemy rodzinne:
zaburzenia odżywiania mogą być wołaniem o pomoc, próbą zwrócenia uwagi na siebie, lub radzeniem sobie z problemami, najczęściej dotyczy to osób młodych, w okresie dojrzewania;
– depresja:
zaburzenia psychiczne lub załamanie prowadzi do problemów z odżywianiem;
– uwarunkowanie genetyczne:
podatność na zaburzenia psychiczne, w tym w odżywiania, może być przekazywana w genach. 

eating disorders, what is it, how are they classified, treatment, causes, effects, LifeSwitcher

Types of eating disorders


Anorexia, or mental edema, is an eating disorder consisting of deliberate weight loss. In this disease, the image of one’s own body is disturbed, the sick person is trying to lose as much weight as possible. Anorectics use the following methods which aim to reduce body weight, minimize food intake and hunger, frequent and intensive exercise (even at night), taking laxatives and dehydration. Anorexia is divided into two types:
1) Restrictive-restrictive, in the sense that the sick person limits his or her food intake, reduces the amount of food to minimum portions, in extreme cases reaches for laxatives or goes to hunger strike.
2. bulimic-cleaning, also known as gluttoning, in this case the sick person limits the intake of food, but falls into episodes of eating or provoking vomiting.

Anorexia is a disease that destroys both spirit and body. Its symptoms and effects include:
– changes in appearance:
weight deficiency, a disheartened silhouette with protruding bones. The skin is pale and dry.
– Cardiovascular problems such as palpitations or slow heartbeat, fainting, heart failure,
– Incorrectly working digestive system: constipation, flatulence, abnormal bowel movement,
– Concentration disorders, apathy, fainting,
– No menstruation in women,
– Muscle weakening or atrophy,
– Bone pains,
– Anemia,
– Weakening of immunity, susceptibility to catching infections,
– There is also an aversion to gaining weight, poor reading of one’s own dimensions, and lack of self-acceptance.


Bulimia, also known as mental ardour, is one of the best known eating disorders. It most often affects young women. It is as follows, the sick person overeats to the limit and is then plagued with remorse and anger at himself or herself, forced to vomit, and starve, and takes laxative medicine. The cycles of overeating and then vomiting can be repeated several times a week and in extreme cases even daily. Bulimia can have a character:
1. purifying:
In this case the patient regularly vomits and takes laxatives to such an extent that he or she becomes dependent on them.
2) Non-purifying:
The patient is obsessed with physical exercise and is starving. Vomiting and taking laxatives is not regular.

Bulimia is accompanied by the following symptoms:
– Feeling tired and sluggish,
– Pain and dizziness,
– digestive problems, constipation and stomach aches,
– no menstruation in women,
– changeable mood, anxiety, fears,
– damage to tooth enamel caused by vomiting,
– The patient considers himself to be obese and is afraid of getting fat,
– depression.

BED eating disorder, eating disorders,
For a person suffering from BED, during a seizure, it is not quality that matters, but quantity.
BED (binge eating disorder)

BED (binge eating disorder) is an internal compulsion to eat large amounts of food. Sometimes you eat what you like, there are also cases where the patient eats what you have at hand. Such overeating takes place outside of normal meal times and does not result from hunger but from an inner sense of need to eat. The seizure lasts from half an hour to two hours, during which time the body is provided with a very large number of calories. In BED you avoid problems and your own feelings. Eating reduces the level of stress, meets emotional needs such as love, safety, belonging, reducing sexual tension. However, later on, anger at yourself and shame appears.

BED symptoms:

– Loss of control over the amount of food consumed.
– End of meal at the moment of strong eating when stomach aches.
– Reaching for food even when you do not feel hungry.
– With this disorder a person often reaches for food when their mental state is weak, for example, they are sad, nervous or unable to cope with a particular situation.
– During a seizure an individual eats everything, the food can be cold, unfinished, unhealthy.
– After a seizure there is no vomiting.

The effects of BED:

– A patient does not vomit after the episode, so the calories taken are retained in the body, and therefore the individual may be at risk of obesity, followed by complications such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
– Emotional problems and hunger attacks can lead the sick person to depression, nervous breakdown, lack of self acceptance, bad self-esteem, difficulties in relationships with loved ones.


Night Food Syndrome (NES) is one of the latest eating disorders. It manifests itself as uncontrolled and repeated eating during the night. It is associated with mood and sleep disorders. The patient may be aware that he or she is eating at night or doing so completely unconsciously. Professionals believe that about 6% of people on the light have NES and that it affects women more often. Night eating syndrome accompanies other diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and depression.

In NES, phenomena such as these appear:
– The highest appetite is in the evening, when the sick person eats the most food;
– the sick person has no appetite in the morning, skips breakfast;
– the appearance of insomnia or shallow and intermittent sleep;
– the sick person thinks about food at night and feels like eating carbohydrate containing products;
– patients do not eat through sleep, so they should remember their night meals (there is one thing they do not remember);
– feelings of guilt, shame, hiding with night food;
– sense of loss of control.

Anorexic sick woman sitting on the floor, weight loss, anorexia. Fat or calories burning concept, medical illness
Anorexic sick woman sitting on the floor, weight loss, anorexia. Fat or calories burning concept, medical illness

The ruminance syndrome, otherwise known as ruminance syndrome, is a condition in which the patient, without causing him/her to vomit, has a food backflow that is chewed again and then swallowed or spit out. Usually the first episode occurs as a result of high psychological stress or physical trauma. The disease may appear as early as childhood. Chewing again brings relief and calms the patient down. This is a little known disease, and its causes, symptoms and treatment are not thoroughly examined and known to specialists.

Patients suffering from chewing syndrome are accompanied:
– abdominal pains,
– constipation and diarrhoea,
– Caries, damaged teeth,
– Halitosis (bad breath),
– weight loss.


The treatment of eating disorders is not an easy subject. A mass of specialists and patient’s willingness is needed. A sick person must be aware of his or her problem and that it is a threat to health and often life. At the same time the patient must be treated psychologically and physically. The need for therapy, conversation and psychological analysis. The sick person must also be under the care of a doctor, because many disorders destroy the body, the consequences can be acute malnutrition or obesity. Eating disorders treatment centers are becoming more and more popular, where the sick person stays for a certain period of time and is treated comprehensively. It should be remembered that in the fight against the disorder it is very important to support the family and the nearest environment. It is such people who can notice the first symptoms, talk to the patient and help in looking for specialists.

Nutrition disorders are a disease of civilization, affecting many communities. It particularly affects young people, more women than men. People do not cope with the pace of life, expectations from family, school, work, friends, they look for escape and a sense of control, and the easiest way to take control over what and how much we eat. It is very dangerous for health and life. So it is worthwhile to observe people from your surroundings and educate them. Remember, you must not be ashamed of your emotions and it is worth to reach for psychological help, because a healthy head is a healthy body. Or do you think so? Have you had contact with eating disorders?

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