Eating Disorder: Definition

Did you ever think that eating habits could as well be in close relation with the disorder of a particular nature? Probably no. Well, start being keen on that. Often, we believe everybody has their unique eating habits, however, some of them may ner crop by abnormality but illnesses. National statistics in the US reveals that about 20 million women to 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at least once in their lifetime.

Eating Disorder: Definition

This disorder manifest as a severe mental and a physical illness which disrupts proper eating habits of an individual. Its occurrence shows no boundaries for age, gender, nor social class and affects the psychological, physiological as well as socio-cultural aspects of anyone but mostly women. 

Out of its life discomforting effects, the illness causes patients to add excessive weight, develop an extremely high appetite for food which in combination leads to improper shaping of the body. Otherwise, depending on the exact eating disorder type one is suffering from, patients will always have differing sign and symptoms. 

Research has not yet established the primary root cause of this illness type. However, lots of suspicions have been raised towards the following to be the primary causative;

  • Genes
  • Biological factors
  • Psychological elements
  • Social and behavioural aspects

Individual therapeutic and medical therapies have been introduced towards the treatment procedures of this disorder, and they all have shown positive results. Doctors will, however, offer a specific prescription to different individuals. 

Eating Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

As it would be expected, eating disorder as well comes with its unique characteristics exhibited in the subjective illness indicators and phenomena surrounding the entire disturbance. Most of them, however, will fall in specific categories of the disease.

Eating Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

The most common ones would include the following;

  • Patients suffering from eating disorder tend to show high fluctuations regarding their weight. One time they will be plum. Next, they will be slim.
  • Show magnificent obsession towards foods with high levels of both fat and calories content.
  • Their eating behaviour bears ritualistic behaviours such as eating foods cut into smaller pieces and avoiding public when eating – they prefer eating in hidden places.
  • They tend to show a lot of keenness towards food handling right from acquisition to preparation and even eating. The can uses complex recipes while preparing meals, especially to others.  
  • Most of them would feel tired and lazy sometimes depressed.
  • A good number avoid as much as possible social places and instead prefers to stay alone – sometimes they prevent the company of friends or family members.
  • Their eating strategy comprises seasons of excessive eating and fasting – they switch between the two.
  • Poor shaping of their body
  • Some develop low  blood pressure in connection to slowed breathing rates
  • Usually has brittle nails and hair
  • May develop severe digestive complications such as constipation
  • Infertility
  • May seriously undergo dieting yet no substantial weight loss gets affected
Eating Disorder: Signs

Recovery from this ailment calls for the elimination of all these signs and symptoms. Many of them are generic, and crop as a result of another – for instance slimming may result due to dieting. 

Causes of Eating Disorders

So far, no research reports have indeed identified the specific causing factor of this condition. However, a facet of potential factors has been determined to be the main causatives. These include; biology, social, psychological as well as some environmental factors. 

The following discussion offers many details about each.

Biological factors

  • Being closely related to relative suffering from the illness: This factor is the most common. In often cases, if your first degrees relatives, your parents that have the condition, then high chances are that you can acquire it’s as well through inheritance.
  • Being closely related to persons with mental sickness: This factor supports an occurrence where a family with a history of persons with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or addiction may give birth to children with other psychiatric disorders as well such as of eating. 
  • A record of dieting:  Persons with eating disorders tend to undergo some dieting procedures in a bit to control their weight, and that leads to binge eating habits. 
  • Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes: Latest research reveals close to a quarter number of women who have diabetes tend to develop the disorder in their eating traditions. The situation mainly occurs whenever the patient skips a scheduled insulin injection – a dangerous state described as diabulimia.
  • Negative energy balance: the Improper balancing of energy giving foods (calories) can lead to a severe health complication. So many reports have been recorded of how some people acquired this illness, and one of them is that they were putting a restriction on their diet and the result if it was impaction of negative energy in their body system – which therefore developed into severe other health complications.

Psychological factors

These mainly refer to those mental elements/ aspects of an individual towards certain situations in life.

Eating Disorders
  • Perfectionism: It stands as one of the top psychological factors resulting in the disorder of this nature. One particular type of it is that which causes self-orientation. The condition corrupts the mind of the patients to only think and aspire for things and experiences that are far much beyond what they have, or they can achieve. They always have extremely high expectations 
  • Dissatisfaction in body image: The shape and structure of peoples body have been a significant influence on people’s life significantly and especially to ladies. Most of them would prefer slimmer bodies while they are weighty and vice versa. Out of this dissatisfaction, many tend to develop particular eating traditions in a bid to gain the best shape they like and as a result eating disorders join in especially when they do it without proper and close guidance from a nutritionist. 
  • Personal history of an anxiety disorder: Research has it that most persons suffering from anxiety disorders tend to show signs of eating illnesses.  These could be persons who have social phobia, generalised anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive complaint
  • Strict rules following: Reports indicate that persons suffering from anorexia, as children were very faithful to the set rules of conduct at school and even at home. 

Social factors

  • Weight stigma: Thinning has been related to betterness all over the world, and everybody is nowadays fighting to achieve it. Out of this notion, many weighty persons feel or are sometimes openly stereotyped and discriminated a situation which leads to stigma.

Thus, you will find a number of them closely watching their diet to extents of depriving themselves of some foods containing essential nutrients they need to keep health – thus eating disorder results easily out of it.

  • Teasing or bullying: The bullying and teasing of weighty persons stand as a significant risk factor contributing to unhealthy eating habits thus resulting in disorders.  Society, in general, tends to gang against fat people, and according to research, about 60% of those persons suffering from eating disorders had initial conditions of obesity, and it’s all after the teasing and bullying were when it developed in them.

Anti-bullying rules of fat people should be installed as a control action towards curbing the problems with the illness. 

  • The internalisation of ideal appearance:  Trying to fix your body into the “ideal size” can be of great negative health impact. It will mean that your change your traditional eating designs, what meals you eat, what time and in what proportion.

If all there are not well monitored by a nutritionist, then the result is health disorders. It can be of great harm if your body needs 300 grams of calories in a typical day, but you only give it 50. 

  • Acculturation: Different ethnic groups and races tend to have their defined way of life. However, several marginalised or less civilised groups tend to imitate or adapt the present state of their superiors and in this case, the westerners.

Lots of ethnicities trust that the western culture is always the best. Thus, they will always try to copy every bit of their lifestyles among which are eating habits. The result of it is still illnesses.

  • Limited social networks:  Limitation regarding the social network can as well be the leading influencer of eating disorders.  Those who are lonely and stay in insolation suffers a greater chance of acquiring anorexia, a condition whereby one is not in a position to find friends or engage in social activities.

This condition is however believed to be the main factor on its own – research on it is still underway. 

  • Historical trauma: This has not yet been indeed confirmed. However, research indicates that groups of people who have suffered severe injury especially for many years tend to have an accumulation of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and so on.

Example of these are persons who underwent colonial ruling, experienced many deaths and suffered great pain. Such persons may easily develop eating disorders. The deep connection between these two is however still under research.    

The Effects of Eating Disorders

Effects relating to eating habits occurs differently among different people and sometimes may be mild or severe. Severe ones can result in serious health complication such as of life-threatening. Below are the typical consequences;

Cardiovascular System

Calories are special nutrition that the body organs need to stay energetic and functional. Whenever there is a shortage of calories, the body tends to utilise some of its muscles in generating the lacking energy. The heart is one of these organs whose structure comprise of muscles. This means, therefore, part of it is usually utilised in the energy generation leaving it less vibrant regarding its operation.

Eating Disorders Statistic

The result of it all is low blood pressure accompanied by the high risk of heart failure. Remember, not all low blood pressure conditions symbolise eating disorder. Some elite athletics have it that way as part of their health needs – in such a way their hearth is said to be healthy and robust. 

Self-induced vomiting as a way of dieting depletes one’s body of electrolytes, essential chemicals which reinforce heart’s pumping. The absence of this chemical means that the heart muscles may not contract and relax regularly as in a normal situation. Also, through purging the chemical substances, sodium and chloride tend to be imbalanced and as such causes irregular heartbeats and in extreme cases heart failures.

Gastrointestinal System

  • Regular purging plus food restriction distracts the normal digestion process of the body. One element of this is gastroparesis, the slow digestion of food and nutrients substances. 

Other effects may include;

  • The bloating and paining of stomach
  • The feeling of nausea or vomiting
  • Fluctuations in the blood sugar levels
  • Blockage of intestines by the undigested food substances
  • Infections from bacteria
  • Feeling satisfaction after eating small amounts of food
  • Constipation
  • Stomach rupture can easily result from Binge eating and can cause dangerous life-threatening effects.
  • Regular vomiting can cause rapture down one’s oesophagus – that can be life-threatening.
  • Repeated vomiting may result in sore throats as well as loud voice
  • Swelling may occur in the salivary glands when there is constant or repeated vomiting habit
  • Pancreatitis can easily result from both malnutrition and purging. The symptoms to this may include vomiting, pain and nausea.


Human brain consumes about 20% of the calories provided by the body.  This means dieting or fasting may interfere with this rate as the brain will be deprived of essential nutrients. The result of it is usually difficulty in finding sleep, and lack of proper concentration. 

Neurons are extensions of the brain and usually needs insulation from lipids to send electric signals. Therefore, with low intake of essential nutrients, neurons automatically relent in their functioning. The result of this is body numbness as well as tingling in feet, hands and other ends.


Both fat and cholesterol act essentially to the body regarding hormone formation. It is from the food we eat that we obtain them, and whenever their level falls other complications may arise, serious ones in most cases.

The lowering levels of sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, may yield other sex complicacy such as irregular menstruation as well as loss of bones from a condition known as osteoporosis and osteopenia. 

Additionally, as a result of starvation or dieting, body metabolism tend to lower and as such, body temperatures also reduce to achieve hypothermic conditions. 

Eating Disorder Diagnosis

The diagnosis eating disorder entirely relies on the signs and symptoms presented by the condition. In case of uncertainty or need for confirmation, a health specialist will carry out the following assessment tests; 

  • Physical examination of the entire body to confirm that no medication is influencing your condition. 
  • Psychological evaluation: A psychologist doctor will carry out examination based on your feelings, behaviours and even thoughts.  
  • Other additional assessments such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), may be employed.

Types of Eating Disorder

These are;

  • Anorexia  
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Rumination Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa

This term describes a condition where one keenly observes their calorie intake and are always obsessed with growing thinner no matter how light they already are.

Symptoms include;

  • Having a lesser average weight when compared against people of your age and height. 
  • Keen scrutiny of what they eat
  • Great fear towards gaining weight
  • A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight.

Bulimia nervosa

It defines a serious disorder condition whereby the affected person binge eat. They eat and head up to vomit or perform excessive exercise sometimes fasting to ensure no weight gain.

It is characterised by;

  • Frequent weight fluctuations
  • Lack of control when eating
  • Electrolyte imbalances – which may result in cardiac arrest, and eventually death
  • Breaking of blood vessels within one’s eyes
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Infertility
  • Avoiding eating in public 

The condition is treatable with the use of medicines and appropriate therapies.

Binge Eating Disorder

This disorder type illustrates a condition whereby one may overeat to their fill and then feel ashamed and guilty afterwards. 

Common signs and symptoms associated with it includes;

  • Being unable to limit your eating 
  • Eating lots of food in a rapid manner
  • Eating even on a full stomach
  • Secretly hiding food to eat later
  • Eating bit proper when with people around and roughly when alone
  • Feeling like stress can only be eliminated by eating
  • Feeling awkward after consuming excess food
  • High appetite for food every time

Can be treated via therapies and medication.

Rumination Disorder

This illness comes with a unique characteristic which mainly manifests in children. It causes them to bring up bits of food they had already swallowed for re-chew then re-swallowing. However, in most cases, children spit them. 

Its common signs and symptoms include;

  • Repeated bringing up of food
  • Recurrent re-chewing of food
  • Weight loss
  • Tooth decay accompanied by lousy breath
  • Indigestion that causes stomach aches

Medication by a nutritionist and therapies are the best treatment solutions.

Treatment for an Eating Disorder

Since eating disorder does not have a direct cause, no particular treatment method is established yet to be the most effective. Whatever is available now is a combination of possible treatment procedures which includes medication and therapy.


Different mental illness only exists to create difficulty and inconveniences in our lives. Sadly some of them appear to be normal, and whenever we meet persons infected, we assume their behaviours are just okay and that that is how they behave. Little did we know that even eating could have disorders.

Eating Disorders

The ailment manifests in the mental makeup of an individual thus causing them to develop some awkward eating habits. These people can eat excessively and repeatedly even on a full stomach. Most of them would also hide to have peaceful moments alone away from embarrassment while eating.

The consequences of this might, however, be very critical to human life. Firstly, there is an excellent possibility that they become extraordinarily weighty and if not, and they are identifying then other health-related complications my drop up. These may include fluctuations in body sizes and weight, low to high blood pressure, infertility and stomach pains among many others. 

No specific item defines the source of this disorder in a human. However, treatment options exist. These include both medical and therapeutic or combination of the two.

Eating Disorders – Frequently Asked Questions

Most persons suffering from an eating disorder will hide and hesitate to share with others. They probably may surf the Internet regarding Eating Disorder FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to gather related information on their condition rather than discuss with someone, especially a doctor.

Eating Disorder FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) helps out pointing the main issues regarding the condition. With eating disorder FAQ, you can look at a set of questions and answers to find out whether you, your friends or your family members are suffering from an eating disorder.

Look at some of the eating disorder FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) by sufferers, a family member of sufferers and those concerned about the nature and symptoms of eating disorders.

Q: What is an eating disorder?

A: An eating disorder is a practice motivated by a psychiatric condition where the sufferer engages in abnormal eating that can be dangerous to physical or mental health. Eating disorder is an illness that causes a person to adopt harmful eating habits.

Q: What are the most common types of eating disorders?

A: There are four main eating disorders common in modern society. The types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and compulsory eating. Some of these eating disorders originate from one another. For instance, compulsory eating may lead to binge eating, which in turn leads to bulimia.

Q: How can I find out that I’m suffering from an eating disorder?

A: Eating disorders are secretive by nature. Though each condition has its precise symptoms, there are a few that are general to all up to some extent. For example, most eating disorders occur during periods of emotional problems and consecutively a distorted body image or low self-esteem, depression may takes place.

On a physical level, a drastic effect on the body of the patient occurs due to eating disorders, some motivating the body to become overweight, and others to become underweight. Some people exhibit many signs, while others may exhibit only a few. Therefore, people develop and experience eating disorders differently.

Q: What are the specific symptoms of Anorexia?

A: Anorexia patients are typically illustrated by their denial to retain a body weight, which is consistent with their build, age and height. They are obsessed with gaining a “perfect body” and they are never satisfied with how thin they are.

To achieve this goal, they will undergo severe methods such as extreme exercising or voluntary starvation. The individual typically experiences a strong fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.

Q: What are the specific symptoms of Bulimia?

A: Most bulimics also suffer from binge eating, where they uncontrollably overeat at meals, followed by periods of guilt and depression. This guilt drives them to perform intentional purging through vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas and other similar methods that in turn leads to negative effects on the digestive system, and the entire body.

Q: How are eating disorders treated?

A: The most effective treatment for an eating disorder will be a team approach that includes an internist, nutritionist, psychotherapist and a psychopharmacologist.

Most of the eating disorders are needed to treat on two levels: an emotional and a nutritional one. On an emotional level, treatment includes psychiatric support whereas on nutritional level patients will be treated under strict diets in order to balance out their condition.

Q: What should I do if I notice an eating disorder in my friend?

A: First try to convince to consult a doctor and if your friend doesn’t want to get better, inform his/her family about what you observed so that they can convince him/her in turn. It’s extremely important that eating disorders are treated at early stages because they can become dangerous if left to develop.

From the above eating disorder FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), you can find some related information regarding eating disorder. It is therefore essential to recognize and treat eating disorders as soon as it is identified.

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