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Eating Disorders


Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder is a broad term that encompasses a condition ranging from compulsive overeating to anorexia

The intensity of anorexia varies - from reluctant (dirty) food intake to a real food phobia. Depending on the age at which it occurs, we distinguish between anorexia of the newborn, anorexia of a small child and anorexia of adolescence.

Occasional anorexia in children in the period of intensive emotional development in the 2nd and 3rd year of life is a common occurrence, it can also occur when going to school, in excessive physical fatigue in the game and the like.

True anorexia means that the child objectively does not get enough food. True anorexia accompanies almost all acute and most chronic diseases of the digestive tract. The most common non-digestive causes of anorexia are systemic diseases.

Selective anorexia means that the child ingests relatively enough food, but only the food he likes or is used to.

Apparent anorexia means that the child takes enough food, but the environment (mother) estimates that it is insufficient.

False anorexia occurs when a child has a normal desire for food but is unable to ingest enough due to certain congenital anomalies.

Psychogenic anorexia in infants and young children is caused by psychological factors. It is usually an expression of disturbed mother-child relationships. A mother may be inexperienced, tense or simply uninterested and unable to recognize and respond to her child's needs. In situations when feeding the child, the mother is impatient, insecure or aggressive, which transmits to the child, so he reacts with similar but inherent symptoms - active or passive rejection of food. If, on the other hand, it imposes a rigid diet or mannered behavior during a meal, it can create resistance in the child, without there really being any appetite disturbances. At the beginning of psychogenic anorexia, digestive disorders are not present, but this anorexia inevitably leads, among other changes, to multifactorial malnutrition and requires professional treatment.

Anorexia nervosa

It's a eating disorder characterized by intentional weight loss. It occurs in emotionally labile girls (although it is also observed in boys). It can occur and be maintained at all ages, but it typically occurs at puberty (80% of all cases begin between the ages of 13 and 20).

The main psychopathological symptom is fear of obesity and disturbance in the perception of the shape and size of your body. This fear is so strong that it permeates the entire mental state and cannot be alleviated by real weight loss. The obsession with the fear of gaining weight is such that patients are afraid of any food, which they perceive as bad and dangerous.

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Several etiological factors participate in the development of anorexia, from biological, psychological, social and cultural. It is still a secret why, when all the conditions are met, some people develop anorexia, while others do not. It seems that the decisive factors are those that determine the personality.

People who have experienced severe trauma or emotional stress during puberty or prepuberty are at increased risk of developing this disease; who have been subjected to sexual abuse; who are under the pressure of an environment that overemphasizes the importance of a slim figure and physical appearance as the only value of a modern woman. The demands of modern fashion are directed towards the unhealthily thin ideal of beauty, and "women's" magazines are full of different recipes and diets for the slimmest line.

The diet begins by avoiding food that grows (sweets, bread, dough ...), then reducing meals, reducing meals and choosing foods. This leads to significant weight loss, but even extreme weight loss that is life-threatening and has nothing to do with beauty is not enough to keep the patient happy. The diet is usually accompanied by excessive physical exhaustion and exercise (aerobics, fitness, jogging, walking), and often intentionally induces vomiting or the use of means for accelerated digestion or excretion of water from the body.

Associated symptoms - many people suffering from anorexia show associated mental disorders: depressed mood, irritability, insomnia, withdrawal from society. They are often preoccupied with thoughts that are imposed on them seemingly against their will or coercive actions, most often related to food, food, body appearance or body weight. These people suffer from feelings of inadequacy and a strong need to control the environment, and they lack spontaneity, initiative and find it difficult to express their feelings.

Physical complications - this disorder is associated with secondary endocrine and metabolic changes and disorders of bodily functions. This causes irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, fainting, loss of menstruation, low body temperature and inability to withstand cold, hair and nails become brittle, hair falls out, dry skin, dry, covered with delicate hair, decreased muscle mass, bones they become weaker and prone to fractures, joints swollen, then anemia, constipation (constipation), chronic insomnia.


Treatment of anorexia nervosa belongs to the highly specialized domain, and is most often performed in a hospital setting. Treatment includes a combination of therapeutic approaches (applied after good evaluation and laboratory tests) which include: individual psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral approach, family therapy and medications (most often antidepressants).


It's a eating disorder that's like anorexia nervosa, is of psychological origin and can have dire physical consequences. While anorexics simply starve themselves, bulimics overeat and then cleanse themselves with vomiting that they have caused themselves. Bulimics often use weight loss pills, laxatives and diuretics to lose weight. Cleansing can have two purposes: preventing weight gain, and temporarily relieving depression and other negative feelings.

Binge eating is a disorder of uncontrolled intake of large amounts of food (over 2500 cal per meal), often in secret, without causing vomiting.


It is believed that pressures and conflicts within the family are the primary cause of bulimia. A bulimic is usually a person who wants to achieve too much and strives for perfection, and feels that he cannot meet the expectations of his parents. Her self-esteem is low and she suffers from depression. She may have been physically or sexually abused as a child; about half of all bulimics have experienced abuse in the past.

Bulimia, like anorexia, mainly affects young women. The average age at which signs of bulimia first appear is 18 years. Bulimia can occur on its own or alternately with anorexia. In this alternating course - which occurs in approximately one in five cases - the girl does not want to eat for a while, preparing for overeating, it is possible that in the phase of not eating, she also uses means to reduce appetite. Then there are: consuming food in excessive quantities, secretly consuming food, preoccupation with thoughts about food, lack of control in the vicinity of food.

Although they overlap, these two disorders are associated with different personality traits: anorexics tend to suppress their instincts, while bulimics, on the other hand, satisfy their cravings, rushing, getting into trouble with drugs, promiscuous behavior, stealing or uncontrolled shopping.

The general health of a person with bulimia depends on how often he eats and cleans. Such a person may vomit occasionally (once a week) or very often (several times a day). Physical consequences include changes in the stomach and pancreas, thyroid problems, inflammation of the esophagus, dental problems and gum disease due to vomiting of stomach acid.

Frequent vomiting consumes water and potassium from body fluids, which causes disturbed heart rhythm, muscle spasms, and even confusion. In severe cases, some of these physical problems can lead to death. Another danger is suicidal depression.


Bulimia is a real disease and people who suffer from it usually cannot control it willingly without professional help. Warnings from family and friends to stop such behavior are useless at best, and have the opposite effect at worst.

A doctor should diagnose bulimia if there are at least two bulimic episodes a week for three months.

Psychological treatment of bulimia involves individual, family or group psychotherapy. Also, behavioral or cognitive therapy is often prescribed. Behavioral therapy focuses on changing habits, sessions are usually devoted to analyzing behavior and devising ways to change it, and between sessions patients follow specific rules of behavior.

Cognitive psychotherapy - often combined with antidepressants - is the original treatment, along with nutrition counseling, the therapy also focuses on normal behavior, aims to explore and counteract negative thoughts behind destructive habits. Individual or group psychotherapy focuses on emotional experiences and relationships that are the real cause of bulimia.

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