Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating is a serious condition. It can affect every system of the body and has a potential to cause irreversible and incapacitating health damage. Eating disorder is not just about wanting to be thin, as some believe. It is a serious mental condition that can destroy health due to unhealthy behaviors such as starving, purging and binge eating.
You may not even look like you are thin or underweight. Eating disorder affects anybody regardless if they are overweight, normal weight or underweight. You can never tell if a person has an eating disorder just be appearances. The advice to “just eat normally” will not apply. Eating disorder is brought about by a deeper underlying issue that manifests on the outside as extreme eating habits. If you are suffering from this affliction, there is most likely an overwhelming stressful situation that is causing your extreme anxiety.
- The urge to under-eat may just be mild but can go extreme.
Some patients will even limit themselves to just a plate of salad, an apple or a few grapes, which is enough for the whole day. The sight of food will repel you.
- Under-eating will make your heart go weak.
Since there is not enough fuel to go around, your heart muscle will deteriorate and erode, thus making it weaker day-by- day. You may feel some strange irregular heartbeats, this is also known as arrhythmia.
- Your blood pressure will fall to dangerous low levels.
Sluggish circulation will slow down your pulse rate. Less blood circulating will make you feel cold easily.
- You will stop menstruating after some time.
This is because you are so thin and there is not enough nutrition to go around. This will not return unless you have succeeded on correcting your eating disorder.
- Your bones will be weak, particularly if you are still on puberty or teenage years.
Without nourishment, the risk for undergrowth and fracture is high. When you get older, you’ll be prone to osteoporosis and stooping.
- There is a feeling of bloatedness due to under-eating.
Your digestive tract will be sluggish since there isn’t much to go around. Your stomach will feel uncomfortable and there will always be an unpleasant feeling of fullness.
- Under nutrition will make you age fast.
Thinning hair, dry skin, pale complexion and other signs of early ageing will show after prolonged starvation.
- You will feel restless, anxious and will have a hard time sleeping.
The quality of sleep is not as good as before, the body will not recuperate properly, so there is less energy the next day.
- You will have a strong desire to consume certain foods.
Craving for foods high in fat and rich in sugar will make you feel distracted all day. This in turn will lead you to go binge-eating, then you’ll spiral back to self-restraint by doing acts such as purging and punishing exercise.
- You will be withdrawn and have less social life.
Weight loss may initially make you feel popular and powerful but it will go down the drain fast. Since you are averse to food, social activities such as dinners, outings, parties and get-togethers will no longer interest you. This will contribute to low mood that may even escalate to depression. Under-eaters are more prone to agitation and mood swings.
- You will lose your sexual appetite.
Hormonal changes will lower you libido and energy levels.
- You are more likely to feel fat and guilty.
Feeling fat is more common with those suffering from eating disorders than the rest of the population. This will lead to an even greater self-deprivation, progressing to a serious health condition.
- Concentration will be impaired.
Alertness will not be sustained by under-eaters after some time.
- Panic attacks will be more common.
Malnourished under-eaters tend to experience more panic attacks due to obsession with weight gain. Poor nourishment may also lead to irrational thinking leading to less productivity and poor social life.
If you have an eating disorder, it’s important that you receive the support and help needed to overcome this addiction. Start the process here.