What are the main eating disorders and what are their characteristics?
We live in a society where the physical prevails, where we are valued for our physical appearance.
We are continually exposed to the media that use advertising to establish certain canons about what is beautiful and what is not, also promoted by the world of catwalks, which usually show an unreal image of women, and also of the men.
Physique and appearance: a pathogenic concern
All of this has caused concern for physical appearance to be one of the great blights of modern times. Although this fixation for beauty was often attributed as something more common in women, the truth is that there are also many men who live pending the marker on the scale or the proportion of their features.
What are the most common eating disorders?
This obsession with physical attractiveness can become a serious problem for our mental and physical health, especially when it comes to eating disorders. Today we will see what are the main eating disorders and what are their main characteristics and the dangers that they bring to our health.
1. Anorexia nervosa
The anorexia nervosa is characterized by a loss abrupt and significant weight, placing it below the minimum healthy. This low weight is the effect of a pathological behavior of the affected person, who performs a meticulous control of food intake, due to their fear of gaining weight and due to a severe distortion of their body image, associated with low self-esteem.
People with anorexia eat very little and use certain rituals and mechanisms to avoid gaining weight. They only consume a few foods, which causes a significant deficit of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, which end up seriously affecting their physical health.
It is a disorder closely associated with the obsession with physique and a slim figure. They may stop eating, take certain remedies to reduce appetite, or use laxatives to lose weight quickly. This eating disorder is usually suffered by adolescent women, although in recent times the cases of adult women and even men with this affectation have risen.
A little more information: “Anorexia could have a genetic origin”
2. Bulimia nervosa
The bulimia nervosa is a disorder of food which is characterized by the presence of frequent food binges. During these crises, bulimic people ingest a large amount of food in an uncontrolled way, and later perform purging rituals to avoid gaining weight. These can be making yourself vomit, exercising for long hours, not eating, or using diuretics and laxatives.
This disease is also more common in women than in men, and usually begins during adolescence. The person who suffers from bulimia is fully aware that her eating behavior is pathological.
About the causes of bulimia, it has been studied thoroughly and even so there are no clear conclusions. It is often said that there are both genetic, psychological, family and / or cultural factors that could make some individuals more prone than others.
- Learn more: “Bulimia nervosa: binge eating and vomiting disorder”
The orthorexia is an alteration in eating behavior that increasingly affects more people. orthorexia is characterized by a pathological obsession with healthy food. They are people who carefully choose the food they are going to eat, have meticulous control over the components of everything they eat and over the preparation of food.
This obsession can lead to a really unhealthy control over ingredients, cooking methods … It is often said that people who develop orthorexia are the people who begin to obsess over food little by little. In the early stages, they can avoid eating foods like red meat or sugars, and little by little they are expanding their ‘manias’.
- Learn more: “Orthorexia, the obsession for healthy foods”
The vigorexia is a disorder that not only involves an imbalance in eating behavior, but also muscle dysmorphia, also known as Adonis or reverse anorexia syndrome. Vigorexia is the obsession to show off marvelous muscles and a strong physique.
In this obsession, the affected person is afraid of looking too weak or thin, and for this reason they exercise their body in gyms in order to increase muscle mass. In addition, they take supplements such as proteins and anabolics to help them get more and more muscular.
The permarexia is an eating disorder that has recientemennte emerged, and that is beginning to worry the health authorities. permarexia consists of the obsession to follow diets and regimes permanently.
People affected with this eating disorder are continually following strict diets to lose weight, have bad habits and irrational behaviors in eating. Permarexia is not considered a disorder in itself, but it is considered a risk behavior that can be the precursor to serious diseases such as bulimia or anorexia.
It is important to stay well hydrated, and drinking water is one of those universal recommendations that we all try to adhere to. Drink two liters of water a day, as the doctor tells us.
Being hydrated makes our skin healthier, and facilitates digestion and fat loss, but there are people who exceed the limits of this practice. And yes, drinking a lot of water is a bad habit for our health. This excessive consumption of liquid is usually called potomania or hydrolexia, and it is a nutritional imbalance that consists of ingesting a lot of water, despite not being thirsty.
Drinking too much water can put our organic functions at risk, since it saturates the function of our kidneys and alters the normal components of the blood, among other things.
The pregorexia is a proper eating disorder of some pregnant women. These women in a state of good hope stop eating what is necessary so that the fetus can develop without problems, and they tend to diet and very intense sports routines in order to maintain a slim figure.
This disorder, similar to anorexia (although less severe), is suffered by women who, while pregnant, have an intense fear of gaining weight during the nine months of pregnancy. Something that is biologically impossible and that can put the health of the baby on the way at risk.
It is well studied that women with pregorexia have a history of anorexia. But it also happens, sometimes, that women who develop pregorexia end up suffering from anorexia.
Other factors that would cause pregorexia would be perfectionism, emotional instability, and low self-esteem.
- Learn more: “Pregorexia: pregnant women who do not want to gain weight”
La Pica is an eating disorder that affects some children. It is characterized by the irrepressible desire of the little ones in the house to ingest substances or objects that are not nutritious, such as earth, ants, bicarbonate, glue, insects, paper, small pieces of plastic or wood … All are objects and things that, in Initially they have no nutritional value and are probably not advisable to eat.
Pica is linked to children with cognitive difficulties and other developmental disorders.
The Manorexia is an eating disorder that keeps some similarities with anorexia and vigorexia. Manorexia is sometimes referred to as “male anorexia,” although this is a simplification, since it has symptoms of its own. People who suffer from this disorder are genuinely afraid of gaining weight, and this leads them to exercise their body excessively and to always follow unhealthy diets and fasts.
It is a disease that has been especially represented in men who work in the fashion sector and in sports in which a very light figure is required, such as horse racing.
The drunkorexia , also called ebriorexia, is an eating disorder that has had a boom among adolescents and young adults. It is the practice of stopping eating to counteract the excess calories produced by the large amounts of alcohol that they consume for several days.
Drunkorexia is a terribly bad habit for the mental and physical health of a person, since it is an intermediate point between anorexia nervosa and alcohol addiction.
- American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2004). Eating disorders: care interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
- Rosen, DS (2003). Identifying and treating eating disorders. Pediatrics; 111: pp. 204-211.
- Rueda, JG (2006). Eating disorders in men: four clinical subtypes. Colombian Journal of Psychiatry, 35 (3), 352-361.
- Stoppler, MC (2008). Drunkorexia, manorexia, diabulimia: New eating disorders. MedicineNet.