What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are characterized by a persistent change in diet or related behaviour that significantly compromises physical health or psychosocial functioning.
Adolescents and young adults are the mostly affected and if are not treated, eating disorders may cause fatal biological and psychological damage.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes six primary eating disorders, but the three main types are:
Characterized mainly by intense and intentional weight loss at the cost of highly restrictive diets and body image distortion.
There are two types of presentation of anorexia nervosa:
Where the person has a restrictive behaviors associated with diet.
Occurrence of binge eating episodes followed by compensatory methods such as vomiting and the use of laxatives and diuretics.
Characterized by periods of high food intake (bulimic episodes), during which a large amount of food is consumed in a short period of time, associated with an uncontrolled eating behaviour and an excessive concern with body weight control. Such concern causes the patient to adopt compensatory measures in order to avoid weight gain.
Self-induced vomiting is the main compensatory method used.
Characterized by consume of very large quantities of food in a brief period and feeling unable to stop eating or controlling. Unlike people with bulimia nervosa, they do not try to get rid of the food by compensatory methods.
The binge eating is chronic and can lead to serious health complications (severe obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases).
Epidemiological data suggest an increasing prevalence of individuals with behaviours of obesity and comorbid eating disorder, such as binge eating.