Keys to Understanding Eating Disorders

Throughout history, body image has been determined by society and culture. In the Western world, this image has acquired such a fundamental value that since the last decades of the twentieth century a total cult of the body has been practiced.

It is in this context that some of the most devastating pathologies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries emerged, such as Eating Disorders (ADD).

Eating behavior

Eating behavior is shaped early in life. It is through the interactions of the child and food with the environment that eating habits are created. determined.

It is important that the child learns to distinguish the different physiological signs such as hunger, satiety or self-regulation of the intake, by creating an appropriate eating behavior, defined as a normal behavior related to the eating habits, to the foods ingested. , quantities, frequency …

the children they generally integrate eating habits and practices around the age of 5, Creation of different ways and preferences for food. Mothers, fathers and caregivers play a key role in educating healthy eating habits, which act as protective factors against future risks.

Eating Disorders (ADD)

Eating disorders are characterized by pathological behavior related to an abnormal pattern of food intake, on the one hand, and an obsession with keeping body weight under control, on the other hand.

They involve complex mental disorders, affecting mainly adolescent girls and young women. These pathologies are characterized by the severity of the associated symptoms, high resistance to treatment and risk of relapse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has placed ADD among the top priority mental illnesses for children and adolescents, given the health risk they imply. The most well-known ADDs are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but there are also others, such as binge eating or drunkenness.

Types of TCA

The main types of eating disorders are as follows.

1. Anorexia nervosa

It is a disorder characterized by weight loss induced or maintained by the patient himself. There is an intense fear of gaining weight or gaining weight.

The person perceives excess weight despite weighing less than what is considered normal. The methods used to lose weight are diet manipulation, exercise (75%) and induced vomiting (20%).

2. Bulimia nervosa

It is characterized by an exaggerated concern for body image and for repeated episodes of binge eating; as a result, the person takes drastic measures to compensate for the compulsive intake.

The patient presents recurrent bulimia attacks, a feeling of loss of control and inappropriate compensatory behaviors (self-induced vomiting; laxatives, diuretics, enemas or other drugs; fasting; excessive exercise, etc.).

3. Binge eating disorder

Like bulimia nervosa, this disorder is characterized by compulsive and recurrent ingestion. The main difference is that the person does not perform compensatory behaviors (Laxatives, fasting, vomiting …).

One of the most common consequences is weight gain or obesity, as well as the associated risks (diabetes, cholesterol, etc.).

4. Drunkard

Drunkenness or intoxication is emerging as a new feeding problem; people who suffer from it stop eating to try to compensate for the calories they ingest with alcohol. To the dangers of anorexia are added those of the consumption of this drug.

The severity of the disorder will depend, on the one hand, on the degree of alcohol dependence and, on the other hand, on the severity of the anorexia.

Risk factors

Risk factors make it easier to develop any type of disorder, including ADD.

  • Individual factors: family history; Personality traits; low self-esteem; negative body image, etc.
  • Family factors: lack of family structure; controlling and demanding environment; stressful life experiences, etc.
  • Social factors: unreal canon of beauty; media demand; sports or activities, etc.

Protective and treatment factors

According to the psychologist from Psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu, Isabel Sánchez Montero, promote a positive body image and good self-esteem is one of the main goals of the prevention and treatment of ADD. In addition, several factors must be taken into account.

1. The media

The media are an instrument of great influence in aspects related to the health of the population and, in particular, with eating disorders.

Therefore, a very important thing in the prevention of this type of disorder is working with the media in order to promote a realistic and healthy image.

2. Personal empowerment

Some authors suggest that an important point of prevention would be to reinforce socio-cultural influences and to recognize the importance of self-esteem, self-control and strength of these people.

3. Teamwork

The treatment required by ADD is developed within a multidisciplinary team, made up of different specialists: doctors, psychologists, nurses, educators, etc. The goals of psychological treatment include:

  • Helps in the normalization of weight.
  • Family counseling.
  • Learn healthy eating habits.
  • Educate about emotions (recognize, regulate and express emotions appropriately).
  • Learn to make contact and move through painful private events (thoughts, emotions, physical sensations).
  • Recognize avoidance patterns and develop effective coping guidelines.
  • prevent relapses.

How to get help for eating disorders

The Málaga PsicoAbreu team of psychologists specializes in the effective psychological treatment of eating disorders. All its professionals work to offer individualized care that adapts to the characteristics of each person, with particular emphasis on the quality of the therapeutic relationship, the support and the guarantees of the intervention. To see the contact details of this psychology center, click here.

Leave a Comment