One of the most common health problems faced by women today, eating disorders (facts on eating disorders) are chronic and life-threatening illnesses which affect women of all ages.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating are the most common eating disorders on the rise worldwide.
In order to understand and treat them, you need to gain a deeper knowledge about them.
Anorexia Nervosa: An eating disorder where people intentionally starve because of a strong fear of gaining weight, anorexia nervosa results when a person is unable to maintain body weight at or above a normal expected weight for their age and height.
Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder with repeated episodes of binge eating, frequent purging, fasting or unnecessary exercise to avoid weight gain; over-concern towards body weight and shape.
Binge-eating disorder: An eating disorder where people develop uncontrollable binge eating without compensatory actions.
The most commonly accepted fact about eating disorder is that women – especially teenage girls are its major victims. According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of people affected with eating disorders are women.
Moreover, the rate of affected women has increased at twice the rate in the past three decades. The survey estimates that 85 percent of sufferers with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and 65 percent of sufferers with binge-eating disorders are females.
The survey states that in the United States, approximately 10 million women are suffering from eating disorders: anorexia and/or bulimia and about 25 million women with binge eating disorder.
Eating disorders in women and self-esteem
The main problem with eating disorders, says experts, is that women often emphasize self-discipline in eating and exercise to attain a good physique. If you suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, you share the common belief that your physique improves your low self-esteem.
The backlash of this is that you undergo depression, worry, self-criticism and anxiety with each binge episode or increase in a few pounds of weight gain.
The most important step to increase your self-esteem is identifying the level to which self-esteem is influenced by your body weight and shape. To improve self-esteem, try to start seeing things positively and reduce self-criticism. As eating disorders are related to secrecy and shame, you may feel fear to seek out treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate the source of self-criticism and enhance self-esteem.
The earlier your diagnosis, the better chance you have of curing your eating disorder. The more advanced the eating disorder, the more difficulty you will have in overcoming the disorder and its effects on the body. In this case, a long-term treatment and hospitalization may be necessary. The treatment also needs support and encouragement from family members as well as friends.
Right now, there is no standard treatment option for eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. The treatment involves therapies like interpersonal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and group therapy. It also involves self-esteem improvement and assertiveness training to increase self-esteem and braveness in facing eating disorders.