Eating disorders may be defined as the range of various psychological problems usually characterized by severely disturbed and altered eating habits. A person suffering from eating disorders may start eating small portions of food or larger portions than usual. Today, there is an alarming number of eating disorder cases in the world. The change in diet and the food types has led to many cases of this disorder. However, research is underway to help curb this challenge. As a matter of fact, individuals may undergo various types of eating disorders due to severe stress, illness, shock and urge to add or lose weight among other reasons. It is highly advisable for one to seek medical help in case of change in eating habits as it may be a signal of solemn complications. Eating disorders may also cause physical problems and the general health of the victim. This essay focuses on the major causes of eating disorders, the types and statistics of the same. It finally analyzes the remedies to this particular problem.

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Causes of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can be caused by: First, psychological factors like feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem or depression. Psychological needs primarily deal with a person’s inner self. When one feels awful about herself and is no longer comfortable with who he/she is, then eating disorders start creeping in. Secondly are interpersonal factors. Troubled family relationships, sexual or physical abuse and difficulty in feelings expression cause a troubled mind to the victim. When one is undergoing such difficulties, he may result in eating too much or too little. Thirdly are the social factors. These involve cultural pressures that seem to value particular persons than others. For instance, there are cultures that value boys than girls. Some social norms glorify the beauty and those who are not beautiful become victims of prejudice and rejection. If one happens to face such discrimination, then he/she may undergo stress and eating food disorders.

There are also factors of excessive exercise that persons may indulge in especially when doing aerobics. During these extreme aerobics, the body may react by losing appetite or increased appetite. Genetics is also another factor regarding food disorders. Some families tend to eat more while others have poor eating habits. This factor is problematic to deal with and devastating at the same time. Finally, eating disorders may be brought about by dieting. This factor mainly affects women and young girls. At the adolescent stage, some girls may realize that they are smaller or bigger compared to their peers. The youth may start feeling out of place. She may eventually result in eating a lot or little with an aim of being the same size with her peers.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are three types of eating disorders. The first category is the anorexia nervosa. People experiencing this type of eating disorders always view themselves as overweight while they may be underweight. Due to this mentality, they result to eating small portions of food and weigh their weight repeatedly. Others may engage in excessive exercise and extreme dieting. The consequences of these activities may lead to the lack of menstruation among women and girls. Secondly is the bulimia nervosa. Victims in this category have episodes of uncontrolled appetite leading to consumption of large quantities of food. However, these people engaged in acts of fasting, excessive aerobics and induced vomiting to compensate the binge eating habits. They fear adding weight hence strive to maintain average body size. Finally is the binge eating disorder. People with this disorder lack control over their eating behaviors. However, unlike the bulimia nervosa, they do not engage in compensation activities. As a result, most become overweight or obese. Victims in these categories at a high risk of suffering from high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications. They also experience feelings of shame and guilt causing more binge eating. The following table shows the statistics of different eating disorder cases in 2012.






























Consequences of Eating Disorders

The prevalence of eating disorders may have adverse consequences for all stakeholders involved. First, eating disorder may lead to health problems. In most cases, when people eat little than required, they become weak or malnourished. This aspect translates to more visits to a doctor. Visiting a hospital leads to wastage of resource and could even lead to poverty. Some victims go to an extent of being hospitalized in extreme cases. The hospital bills lead to financial constraints to family members of the patient hence poor living standards. Secondly, eating disorders lead to low mortality rates. Some deaths are brought about by eating disorders. When people fail to eat as required, they die at an earlier age. Also, pregnant women who do not feed well may lead to poor fetal development. The chances of the fetal survival become narrow. A nation’s economic value slows down as they experience increased death rates. A country that consists of a sickly population due to eating disorders cannot be any productive. This unproductivity emerges when people cannot work on their own hence increasing their maintenance costs.

Eating disorders cause withdrawal behaviors among the victims. People especially who overeat usually avoid contacts with people to avoid criticism and feelings of abnormality. Withdraw may lead to poor relations with others especially family members. This withdraws eventually leads to low self-esteem and depression. Some people may lose sexual feelings. When a person fails to take a balanced diet that enhances healthy functioning of the body, sexual feeling may cease to exist. The consequences of this are increased number of divorce cases which adversely affects the victims. Loss of concentration is a common effect of the disorder. Depressions brought by obesity and being overweight lead to loss of concentration. People who lose focus at their workplaces may start performing poorly. A student who has these eating disorders may become a poor performer in class leading to pathetic grades.

Eating disorders can also slow a child’s growth especially on those suffering from anorexia nervosa. The children affected with this disorder are usually exhibit malnutrition are prone to osteopenia. However, evidence has shown that this kind of ailment can be treated. Therefore, parents are advised that they should be keen whenever their children portray some aspects of delayed growth. They should immediately consult a medical practitioner specialized who is knowledgeable about this disorder.

Recommendations for Treating Eating Disorders

Treating disorders are usually treated in the following steps. Firstly, an individual suffering from an eating disorder can resort to adequate nutrition process aimed at achieving a healthy weight level. This aspect can be significant if the patient involves a nutritionist counselor who is knowledgeable about the different types of eating disorders to provide adequate information. However, some patients may be admitted as in-patients and monitored to eat and resolve the issue of underweight. The primary objective of the nutritional rehabilitation is to assist the patient to adopt a structured meal plan that is relevant in curbing binge eating and purging. It has also been discovered that when the patient with an eating disorder is under the care of a nurse practitioner, craving will be regulated and satiety enhanced. It is also crucial to assess the nutritional consumption of all the patients suffering from eating disorders regardless of the weight.

Secondly, it is also recommended that psychological intervention is considered when treating eating disorders. It is done through the thorough assessment of the patient’s cognitive and psychological development.. The patient’s relation to the family can also be assessed. This point is because research done on the causes of eating disorders imply that it has a significant relationship to aspects of the complicated genetic composition, physiological and biological factors. Therefore, it is usually recommended that this consideration is taken when diagnosing a patient with eating disorders.

Thirdly, provision of family assessment and intervention is also relevant in remedying the eating disorder. This aspect is usually significant for the children and the patient in the adolescent stage. Involvement of the family in assessing an eating disorder is relevant for the children with anorexia nervosa. Involvement of spouses in assessing treating disorder is also recommended.


It can be concluded that eating disorders are an escalating menace in the contemporary society that should be curbed. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all and sundry to ensure that they stay healthy by eating a balanced diet. Individuals should also be advised to ensure that they visit the nutritionist regularly to ensure that they are not suffering from eating disorders. The World Health Organization also has an obligation conducting campaign to raise the awareness of eating disorder. It is because this is a global disorder that should not be underestimated at any level. Therefore, a successful method should be the device to eradicate this escalating menace for the benefit of the current and the future generation. It should also be eradicated because it slows economic growth of a nation. When people have eating disorders, they are unable to be productive citizens hence delays in economic growth.

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