Eating Disorders

People who suffer from eating disorders increase more and more as the time goes by. This is not surprising. Some of them are extremely fat and some them extremely thin. This condition specifically affects younger people.


Anorexia, Bulimia and other eating disorders are recognized by almost everyone even if information about the contents of these disorders is not well known.  Now we all know that people who have one of these disorders and their acquaintances suffer from them for a long time. How do these disorders affect our lives? What kind of effects do they have on us? How the treatments of these disorders can be effective and permanent? All answers to these questions are here.


Eating disorders are known as puberty period diseases. Age of onset for Anorexia Nervosa is 14-18; for Bulimia Nervosa, it is known as 16-20. Age of onset keeps declining for both disorders.


Psychopathology of Eating Disorders:


a)The adolescent fails to take on sexual identity and adopt puberty changes,


b)The conflict of the adolescent is not on level of nutrition functions; instead, it is related with rejected body,


It is different from classical neurosis; in psychopathological way, interaction of the mother and the baby in early phase is accepted as determinant. In this phase, the child builds his/her own body integrity with the help of mother. If the child experiences delays on nutrition in this phase, on puberty he/she has difficulty in perceiving the sensation of his/her body.


Anorexia Nervosa:


Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is related with distortion on perceived body image, which begins in puberty and early adulthood. The individual stops eating in a way that threatens his/her body integrity and tries to lose weight. Excessive exercising, vomiting, and using laxatives can be accompanied in this period.  


The basic symptoms of this disorder are intense fear of gaining weight and extreme weight loss. Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder that includes physical symptoms such as hormonal disorders and constipation. Individuals with this disorder, experience difficulty in identity formation during puberty; they reject this change and choose to have an image of child. Also, it can occur because of the expectance of being independent, and against of social and sexual increase in adults. 


Since AN has very medical complications, such as anemia, liver problems, distortion in hormone activities, loss of hair; the treatment of this disorder should include a team of professionals.


The main purpose in AN treatment is not gaining weight of the patient. The medical doctor and a dietitian give medical Nutrition Treatment.


Bulimia Nervosa:


Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is defined as eating episodes by losing control. In a bulimic attack, the individual eats more than normal people. The individual gets obsess on controlling his/her body weight. Eating episodes occur secretly. Generally, stressors or stress factors trigger this disorder and actuates negative affect. These negative affects are feeling loneliness, anxiety about eating in social environment or gaining weight.  The individual enjoys while having eating episodes and this situation continues until the person feels full. The person loses control on his/her eating   behavior and the mount of food consumed. People with Bulimia Nervosa have problems about their family relationships. Mostly, rejected parent attitudes create this situation.


Bulimic people are afraid of getting fat. Besides vomiting, they can use laxatives, appetite suppressing drugs or thyroid pills. They want to burn the calories they took with excessive exercises.  Other psychiatric disorders accompanied to BN.               




People with eating disorders feel unhappy and excluded from society. So, they lose their self-esteem and social network. These individuals can be encountered in diet polyclinics and fitness centers. However, the treatment of eating disorders is medical and first place to contact is psychiatry. With the help of psychotherapy, eating disorders can be treated. Also, psychiatric drugs can be useful. Besides drug and diet support, regaining self-esteem and preventing depression should be focused on people with eating disorders. If the real reason of the disease cannot be treated, it may reoccur.



(Published in Yeni Asır newspaper on 15.11.2012)

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