Types of Eating Disorder And Its Medication

source: psypost.org

Eating disorder is a serious behavioral problem. It involves not eating much food or having enough food to stay healthy. There are different types of Eating disorder which we will discuss later.

Apart from this, this type of illness also includes excessive worries about its size or weight.

Due to eating disorders, heart and kidney problems or sometimes death may occur.

It is important to get help only at the beginning.

Today, we will discuss this through the article in detail due to the Eating Disorder, types of eating disorder, Symptoms and Rescue.

There are usually three types of eating disorder.

The most common types of eating disorder include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males.

Also read: How to Recover From Eating Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa

It is a disease in which a person consumes less food according to the needs of his body, due to which there is less weight according to age, gender and developmental trajectory.

In its more serious signs, the person is always afraid to gain weight, while his own weight is reduced.

That means that you become very thin in this disorder but do not take enough food because you feel that you are fat.

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Drastic and persistent weight loss
  • For female, disrupted menstrual cycles or amenorrhea, even worst to infertility and osteoporosis (bone abnormalities)
  • For male, loss of libido
  • Cold intolerance, lethargy, and fainting
  • Constipation and abdominal bloating
  • Dry skin, hair loss, brittle nails
  • Muscle (heart muscle and cerebral atrophy) wasting
  • Slow pulse and low blood pressure
  • Dehydration


Psychosocial Signs and Symptoms

  • Intense fear of gaining weight and want to be thinner even though being underweight
  • Distorted perceptions on body shape
  • Denial of the existing problems of getting thin and make many excuses to avoid eating
  • Depressed, anxious and irritated
  • Changes in personality and mood swings
  • Intense and conflicting relationship with the family members
  • Diminished social network due to ongoing avoidance to eat with others
  • Indecisive, preoccupied with obsessive and compulsive thinking and behavior (especially during extremely underweight)

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Refuse to eat or have unusual diet habits:
    • Cut food into tiny pieces and eating slowly
    • Only allow vegetables and food with low calories or specific types of food
    • Spit out the food after chewed
  • Doing excessive exercises, self-induced vomiting, and abuse diet pills, laxatives or diuretics to avoid weight gain
  • Wear big baggy clothes to conceal thin body shape
  • Force family members to eat or supervise their family members on cooking
  • Prepare food by themselves
  • Stealing (especially food at the beginning)

Bulimia Nervosa

This type of eating disorder is characterized by repeated binge eating followed by over-eating behaviors such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme laxative or diuretic use.

Men and women suffering from Bulimia may fear weight gain and feel severely unhappy with the size and shape of their bodies.

Typically, the cycle of binge-eating and purging is done in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control.

Bulimia may have injurious effects such as gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration, and heart problems caused by an imbalance in the electrolyte.

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Frequent weight fluctuations
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Lethargy and tiredness
  • Frequent vomiting leads to:
    • Swollen parotid glands, tooth decay
    • Imbalance in a biochemical system that leads to a heart problem
    • Red marks leave on fingers due to harms of stomach acid
  • Frequent use of laxatives lead to gastrointestinal and bowel disruptions
  • Dehydration


Psychosocial Signs and Symptoms

  • Feelings of loss of control, negative body image and being useless
  • Preoccupied with automatic thinking on food and drive to be thin at the same time
  • Body shape being the only thing for evaluating self image
  • Feel depressed, anxious, guilt and urge to self-destruction after binging
  • Intense and conflicted family members relationships
  • Eat normally in front of others and then binge in secret
  • Diminished social network due to ongoing avoidance to eat with others

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Vicious cycles of fasting and binge eating
  • Consume extremely large amount of food in secret
  • Conceal large amount of food at home in secret
  • Stay in toilet for a long time after eating (for vomiting)
  • Do excessive exercises, self-induce vomit, fasting/ dieting, take laxatives, diuretics or slimming pills after binging
  • Stealing (especially food)

Binge Eating Disorder

Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder will often lose control over their eating.

However, episodes of binge-eating, unlike bulimia nervosa, are not followed by compensatory behaviors such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise.

Because of this, many people with BED may be obese and may develop other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, at increased risk.

Men and women struggling with this type of eating disorder may also experience intense feelings of guilt, distress, and embarrassment related to their binge-eating that may affect the further progression of eating disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Feeling tired and not sleeping well
  • Feeling bloated, constipated or developing intolerances to food
  • Osteoarthritis (Degenerative arthritis arthritis in which a person’s joints degrade in quality and can lead to loss of cartilage)
  • High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol

Psychosocial Signs and Symptoms

  • Preoccupation with eating, food, body shape and weight
  • Extreme body dissatisfaction and shame about their appearance
  • Feelings of extreme distress, sadness and anxiety during and after a binge episode
  • Low self esteem
  • Increased sensitivity to comments relating to food, weight, body shape, exercise
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Feelings of shame, self loathing or guilt, particularly after eating
  • Increased isolation and withdrawal from activities previously enjoyed

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Evidence of binge eating
  • Secretive behavior relating to food
  • Evading questions about eating and weight
  • Erratic behavior
  • Self harm, substance abuse or suicide attempts

Also read: The Ultimate Revelation Of Diagnosis Of Eating Disorder.

Medical Consultations and Medication for Eating Disorder

Doctors (General Practitioners) are often the first professionals to identify cases of eating disorders.

They are important for conducting initial assessments, contacting the relevant caretakers as well as making appropriate referrals to specialized services for treating eating disorders.

During the treatment process, regular consultation with doctors is essential to assess on various aspects such as physical complications, psychological complications, needs for hospitalization, chemical deficiencies and weight and nutrition education.

If you seek help from the public hospital, through the referrals made by the General Out-Patient Department, you will be directed to medical consultations at the Paediatrics and Adolescent department.

The pharmacological treatment (medication) of eating disorders is an adjunctive treatment to psychotherapy for most of the times.

Anti-depressants such as the Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI), e.g. fluoxetine, are usually prescribed to treat eating disorders.

For anorexia nervosa, pharmacological treatment is often adopted to treating patients only if they have comorbid symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Studies suggested that anti-depressants would not have much impact for patients with anorexia nervosa who are of very low weight, but is helpful in preventing relapse in weight-restored patients with anorexia nervosa.

In contrast, for treating patients with bulimia nervosa, anti-depressants are helpful to reduce the frequency of binging, purging and also to alleviate the depressive mood.

All in all, the most effective treatment approach should comprise of a combination of both medication and psychological treatments, particularly in the situation where binge eating is getting more and more severe and the result obtained from receiving single treatment is far from satisfactory.

Psychotherapy Medication for Eating Disorder

Psychotherapy for treating eating disorders is intensive and is usually conducted in the form of one-hour sessions once every or alternate week.

Patients often feel ambivalent and lack confidence at the beginning of treatments.

Thus, psychotherapists would adopt motivations interviewing techniques to enhance patients’ motivations to change.

And when the patients are fully prepared psychologically, psychotherapists would assist them to facilitate cognitive, behavioral, environmental and interpersonal changes.

  • Individual psychotherapy: 

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to assist patients in understanding how their acts and emotions are affected by the fallacies in their ways of thinking, in particular those relating to food consumption, weight control, self image, interpersonal relationships and stresses in life.

It aims at steadying their emotions and regulating disordered eating patterns through cognitive reconstruction. 

  • Family therapy: 

None of the studies suggests that one particular treatment approach is superior to the others in terms of treatment effectiveness.

However, the family interventions treatment approach is quite effective in treating paediatrics and adolescents with anorexia nervosa.

There are many different kinds of family therapy such as structural family therapy, strategic family therapy, narrative family therapy and the Maudsley Method.

Through discussions with the patients and their family, family therapists would study the problems of eating disorders from the aspects of the mode of communications and relationships between the patients and their family.

It also stresses on the impact of eating disorders on the whole family, not just the individual patient.

Family members are strongly encouraged to support the patients and participate in the treatment processes, instead of putting blaming all the problems on the individual patient.

The common themes of family therapies are improving patterns of communication, expressing emotions, effective problem solving methods and conflict resolutions.

  • Group treatment: 

Six to eight patients form a group which is led by different professionals.

There is a pre-group and post-group assessment for examining the effectiveness of the group.

Since patients share similar symptoms and experiences, they would find it easy to echo with each other’s feelings and thus the process of treatment is no longer a lonely one.

In such situations where patients have mutual supports and references from one another, they would be much more motivated to change for treatment purposes and thus resulting in obvious improvements.

Dietetic Consultation
Medication for Eating Disorder

Based on findings from scientific researches, dietitians assist the patients to recognize their fallacies in their ideas relating to food consumption;

Ensure that the patients have a good understanding of both nutrition and weight management and a flexible attitude in applying it in the real life.

Dietitians will, in accordance with the extent of readiness of the patients, design tailor-made eating plans, teach them to consume food in regular times and portions and to learn afresh the normal responses one should have in relation to hunger or satiety.

It is most important that patients would, as a result, learn to make healthy choices about food so that they are able to eat with confidence without pressures, which ultimately leads to having healthy weights and balanced nutritions.

Also read: Understand Causes Of Eating Disorder Before You Regret.

Art Therapy Medication for Eating Disorder

Professional and registered therapists will help patients to explore their internal conflicts and enhance their self understanding by using expressive arts such as drawing, music, dancing and body movements…etc.

It also provides a way for the patients to relieve their long suppressed stresses and emotions, helping them to establish positive coping strategies.

  • Hypnotherapy

Professional and registered hypnotherapists will use hypnosis to help patients relax.

For some situations, it may help patients to understand how their suppressed past experiences and emotions correlate to their anorexic and bulimic behaviours.

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