How to Defeat Eating Disorders Part 2

by Dr. George Crabb on April 21, 2010 · 2 comments

Thank you for joining me today. Last time we began our discussion on eating disorders. Today we will talk about the two main eating disorders.

The first eating disorder we will discuss is called anorexia nervosa or anorexia. Anorexia is deliberate starvation with the purpose of losing weight. Along with a lack of food, a person with anorexia can over exercise and may use laxatives or diuretics to enhance weight loss. Those that are suffering from anorexia have a distorted body image and the fear of becoming fat. The fear of becoming fat controls their entire life. If those that are struggling with anorexia do not find freedom from their bondage, their eating disorder could lead them to physical and psychological damage and possible death. Many people only think of anorexia as the severe restructuring of food, however, the disease is divided into two categories: number one restrictive form and number two binge eating/purging form. The restrictive form of anorexia is the most common. Individuals with this type of anorexia severely limit the number of calories they consume and also engage in excessive exercise to lose weight. The binge eating/purging anorexic is when an individual eats during binges and then purges by using the laxatives, diuretics, and the enemas, or self induced vomiting. These individuals expose themselves to very serious and damaging physical and psychological affects because of their eating disorder. With all anorexics, the lack of proper nutrition can damage the heart, liver, and kidneys. The idea and process of losing weight consumes the life of those suffering from anorexia. In fact after a while these individuals find it easier to withdrawal from family and friends than to come up with more excuses why they are eating so little or not eating at all. They will start having difficulty concentrating, and their school work will suffer. Secrecy is a large part of being anorexic. Food and eating can become a well-planned ritual for the person with anorexia. People with anorexia can become obsessed with weighing not only themselves but also every bite of food they consume. They meticulously calculate the amount of calories that lies in front of them. On the other hand, some refuse to eat in front of people.

The second eating disorder we will discuss is called bulimia nervosa or bulimia. Individuals with bulimia regularly eat large amounts of food in a short period of time, which is much more than an average person would eat in the same amount of time. In fact, they could eat and drink between 5000 – 10,000 calories during a regular day. In most cases, the person with bulimia purges by using laxatives, diuretics, and the enemas, self induced vomiting, or excessive exercise. Bulimia is the most common eating disorder. It is estimated that up to 4.2% of females in the United States will have a period of bulimia at some point during their lifetime. Bulimia behavior is usually conducted in private not to arouse suspicion. The individual struggling with bulimia will typically throw up after meals. They will run the water in the bathroom for long periods in the attempt to cover up the sound of vomiting or they will take a shower and throw up in the shower.. They will also engage in excessive exercise programs. You will also notice calluses or scars on the knuckles from forced vomiting. They will admittedly deny any type of eating disorder.

As with anorexia, bulimia comes with its own set of complications such as fluid, electrolyte, and mineral imbalances, which can lead to dehydration and problems with the heart in regards to arrhythmias. Many of the physical complications of bulimia come from self induced purging. These include the loss of tooth enamel, tooth decay, sore throat, kidney damage, esophageal tear, and stomach rupture. A common complaint that I see in my medical practice with those that are suffering from bulimia is a complaint of constant stomach pain and acid reflux symptoms. The abuse of laxatives may lead to dependence on them, which leads to rectal prolapse and hemorrhoids. As with anorexics, many bulimics suffer from severe mood swings and bouts of depression, which are further exacerbated by periods of isolation caused by the disorder.

A very dangerous practice with many bulimics is that they are thought to use other drugs to increase their metabolism, and thus, purge calories. The most common drugs used by bulimics to increase their metabolism are alcohol, methamphetamine, and heroine. Perhaps the biggest complication of bulimia is the secrecy surrounding its practice. Unlike anorexia, in which the self induced starvation becomes apparent, someone with bulimia can hide the condition for years. The purging, dieting, and exercising that occur between binges helps the individual maintain a weight within or even slightly above the normal range. This allows the destructive behavior to continue for a lengthy period of time while the psychological and physical complications continue.

In our next blog we will finish regarding the subject of eating disorders by talking about how you can tell if someone has an eating disorder and how to find freedom from an eating disorder.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Acid reflux symptoms July 19, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi, 

Its really very helpful article guys for Defeating Eating Disorders.

INCONTINENCE SUPPLIES February 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I’m scared I am starting to become anorexic again I feel wayyy overweight and people are telling me I am I am 5″9″ and weigh 212 I am FAT!!!! I want to look like those models I want to be skinny I’ll do whatever it takes i cry because I? don’t look like them. I think guys don’t date me because I’m overweight I need help any advice? @CARLI:(

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