Dealing with any form of food addiction or an eating disorder can often be challenging and in severe cases, extremely life-threatening. Not only do eating disorders affect individuals who are struggling with them on their own, but it is not uncommon for eating disorders to put strain on relationships and relationships with close family and friends. Understanding more about what it is like to become addicted to food and the signs of eating disorder issues that are most common today is a way to gain additional knowledge and perspective on those who suffer from any chronic disorder.
What is Food Addiction?
Becoming addicted to eating food is possible when an individual is consuming too many carbohydrates and too much sugar regularly. It is also more common to develop a food addiction when suffering from any form of trauma or attempting to escape and avoid emotional or stressful situations. Food addiction is serious and can easily lead to over-eating, consuming too many calories, and gaining a significant amount of weight in a short time period.
Common Eating Disorders Today
Understanding some of the most common eating disorders that are prevalent in both women and men is essential to determining whether you are suffering from an eating disorder or whether someone you know may be struggling with their own eating habits each day. Knowing how to properly define various eating disorders is a way to find the best resources that are tailored for your needs and most suitable for recovery in any case, regardless of the severity of the disorder.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that affects both men and women, and is also known as the third most chronic illness in teenagers and adolescents today. Anorexia consists of restricting oneself from eating and strictly counting calories to avoid over-eating and consuming foods high in calories and fat. Individuals who are struggling with anorexia nervosa who have the condition severely may avoid eating altogether as much as possible, sufficing on water and other minimal calorie vegetables. Many individuals suffering from anorexia may find themselves going without eating for days whenever possible.
Unfortunately, with the lack of education regarding proper diet and nutrition and the uprising in anorexia nervosa in young adolescents, the eating disorder has a mortality rate of 4% of those who suffer from it long-term.
How Anorexia Affects the Body
Starving the body of its necessary nutrients can ultimately result in the body’s necessary organs shutting down, or organ failure. Without carbohydrates or ketones, the brain begins to become foggy and unable to focus. Individuals with severe cases of anorexia are likely to experience depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Many cases of those who suffer from anorexia are often lost due to suicide and heart-related issues. When starving the body of its necessary nutrients to thrive, the heart is often unable to cope with the overwhelming stress that has been placed on it due to a compromised immune system.
Bulimia is another common eating disorder that causes patients to often binge on food following multiple episodes of ridding the food from their stomachs, with self-purging techniques. Bulimia is not only risky to the immune system and overall functions of the body, but it is also damaging to the esophagus as well as the teeth, as the bile from excess vomit can easily begin eroding and causing cavities within the mouth.
Binge Eating/Over-Eating/Emotional Eating/Stress Eating
Understanding the binge definition is the first step to knowing more about those who suffer from any binge-related condition. If you have ever felt “I can’t stop eating” or if you wonder “Why do I eat so much?”, you may have a binge eating disorder. Binge eating includes eating to excess and often consuming too many calories in one sitting, feeling full and “stuffed”. Binge eating is commonly triggered by emotional issues such as work-related stress, self-esteem-related stress, and even relationship stress.
Fast food addiction cases are growing increasingly popular due to the high amount of sugar and carbohydrates in most foods, triggering an addictive effect on individuals of all ages. When you are feeling sad, alone, depressed, angry, and even isolated, it is common to turn to food as an emotional comfort, even if you do not realize you are doing so consciously.
Signs of an Eating Disorder
Signs of eating disorders vary with each individual, the severity of the disorder, the type of disorder and eating struggle they are dealing with personally, as well as how well they are capable of hiding their challenges. Noting a few of the most common eating disorder signs and symptoms can help you to determine if you or someone you know is dealing with an undiagnosed eating disorder that has the potential to ultimately become life-threatening in anyone.
Signs of Anorexia
- The avoidance of eating meals altogether is often common. Small meals may be consumed along with water, but often consist of mostly vegetables and foods that are low in calorie.
- Skipping meals is also common in those struggling with body image, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or their weight.
- Losing color in the skin and generally looking “unhealthy”. Bags underneath the eyes are also not uncommon due to the lack of nutrients in the body.
Signs of Bulimia
- Not eating as frequently than what is necessary for maximizing nutrients daily.
- Vomiting or “purging” meals shortly after eating, before proper digestion is even possible.
- Respiratory and heart issues due to a weakened immune system in severe cases.
- Eating large meals and using the bathroom in between courses or afterwards, often ridding the food altogether to feel satisfied from eating without taking in any calories.
Signs of Over-Eating/Binge Eating
- Eating in excess and often eating even when not hungry or unable to eat anymore without feeling bloated or ill.
- Eating foods that are unhealthy when upset, moody, or feeling “out-of-sorts”, triggering the need for food to help with distracting you altogether. Emotional and stress-based eating is common among millions of individuals worldwide, although it is treatable with the proper guidance and an understanding of proper nutrition and diet.
- Having larger plates of food than necessary on every occasion, regardless of the meal time and whether or not it is a holiday or a special event.
- Rapid weight gain is often noted in patients who struggle with severe over-eating and binge eating, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the triggering of over-eating and the individual’s own genetic and current state of health when the disorder begins to take place in everyday life.
Common Signs of Any Eating Disorder
- Dodging questions about any eating disorder is also common when confronting a friend or a loved one in your life regarding their struggle. It is extremely important to remain as sensitive as possible when helping someone you know to overcome an addiction in their own life.
Getting over-sensitive and upset or defensive is common in those who are known to suffer from a fear of weight gain or are very critical of themselves and their body image.
Either the avoidance or indulgence of speaking of food is also common in individuals who are struggling to overcome an eating disorder of any kind, whether it is binge eating, bulimia, or anorexia. Regardless of the type of eating disorder any patient is dealing with, food is often viewed as an indulgence or as repulsive.
Learning How to Stop Overeating
When you want to know how to stop overeating, it is not always as simple as lowering portion size and reducing caloric intake, especially for those who have suffered from serious food addictions for years or even most of their lives.
Building Resources and Gathering Support
Opening up to close family members, friends, and those you trust can help to take a weight off of your shoulder if you are feeling upset, anxious, or angry about any eating disorder you are struggling with on your own. Building a support group with those you trust in your life is a way to stay strong when coping with an eating disorder and when you begin to research various solutions that are available near you, including both local and online resources.
The more support you have when working towards a happier and healthier life for yourself, the less likely you are to feel as if you are incapable of completing treatment programs or any therapy you have sought out for yourself or even for someone else in your life who is struggling. If you do not feel comfortable with talking to family and friends about any eating disorder you are struggling with, consider the option to do so online with online programs, communities, and outreach blogs. There are also anonymous programs for those who are suffering from everything from fast food addiction and binge eating to bulimia and anorexia.
Compare Local and Online Outlets, Programs, and Treatment Facilities Available
Compare various local and online outlets, programs, and treatment facilities available when you want to reach out to others about any eating disorder you are struggling with on your own. Comparing various programs and treatment facilities is necessary for you to ensure you are in the right facility or network when regaining your strength and obtaining the help you need to get healthy. Reviewing various features, programs, and services from each type of local and online resource that is available near you is a way for you to feel the most comfortable whether you choose to enroll anonymously or if you are seeking long-term inpatient or outpatient programs that are suitable for you.
Recovery Anonymous Options
If you are seeking help and guidance but want to do so anonymously, consider food addicts anonymous, available in some locations locally as well as within online communities. Using a food addicts in recovery anonymous group is a way for you to learn more about your addiction while also gaining valuable knowledge and tips to help regain control of your eating habits for a more positive lifestyle in the future.
Benefits of Anonymous Groups
- Anonymous contribution of your own story and a place to share your own perspective on any eating disorder you have struggled to overcome or that has affected and impacted your life in any way.
- Get others’ support who have also struggled with a variety of eating disorders ranging from binge and emotional eating to bulimia and anorexia, regardless of your gender and age.
- Some anonymous groups online offer messaging and chatting to get additional support and and open ear to share your struggles and to work through overcoming obstacles you may face any time you want to rid an eating disorder from your life for good.
- Feel more at-ease and relaxed when using an anonymous group that does not often require registration or the use of your real and full name in order to begin sharing your story and information. When you feel comfortable and at-ease with those around you within an online or local community, it becomes much easier to open up with those who may have been in similar situations as you.
- Meeting with others who have experience in dealing with their own eating disorder is another way to feel more relaxed and calm when sharing your own story and opening up to others to build a support group with your surrounding resources. The more comfortable you feel with those you are sharing your most vulnerable moments with, the easier it becomes to overcome them without repeating any negative future that impacts your health in the future.
The more you know and understand about various eating disorders, how they affect the body, mind, and even relationships, the easier it is to help a loved one in your life or even yourself if you find yourself struggling to overcome one on your own. Putting both local and online resources to use is a way to get the relief necessary to overcome the issue of binging or struggling with another eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa.