Eating Disorders

Many people with an addiction have eating disorders and the team at Villa Paradiso is trained to treat this condition in a sympathetic and effective way. Eating Disorders, or abnormal eating patterns can take a heavy toll on both physical and mental health.

The most common eating disorders are bulimia, binge eating and anorexia. Bulimia is manifested by overeating followed by episodes of purging, or vomiting. Anorexia is caused by over-dieting and an excessive concern for weight and appearance. Anorexics lose weight rapidly, skip meals and still feel that they are overweight. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about eating disorders.

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Eating disorder or eating problem?

Sometimes the terms eating problem and eating disorder are used interchangeably, but they are really two different concepts. There are several types of eating disorders and the causes of eating disorders also differ.

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorder is a broad term. It ranges from eating very little to minimize calories to binge eating to being overweight. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness. People with eating disorders get ‘stuck’ in their lives; within the family, work and socially. This is very drastic.

People with an eating disorder are obsessed with their weight and food. Eating or not eating plays the main role in their lives and gets in the way of their daily lives when they do not want to. Types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, abbreviated BED. In addition, there is a residual category that includes eating disorders that just do not meet the previously mentioned categories but clearly interfere with daily functioning. These disorders are grouped together and called Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Described (ESNAO, sometimes abbreviated to NAO). This eating disorder is the most common in practice.

Eating disorders lead to physical damage. This includes dizziness, (developing) organ damage, menstrual problems, low body temperature, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, hair loss and bad teeth. Often you see additional consequences as well. A person is ashamed of the eating disorder or of their appearance. That person withdraws more and more which leads to loneliness and sometimes even depression.

Types of eating disorders

An eating disorder is a collective term for eating disorders such as:

  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • eating disorder (BED)
  • eating disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NAO)
  • orthorexia
  • pica eating disorder

Causes of eating disorders

The diagnosis of an eating disorder can only be made by a specialised counsellor after an examination and several interviews. In these conversations, the counselor tries to find out the causes of eating disorders. There is never one single cause. It involves a combination of factors.

Causes of eating disorders:

  • “it runs in the family. If eating disorders run in the family, other family members are also more ‘prone’ to them.
  • Traumatic events. A breakup of a relationship or a divorce, sexual abuse, bullying at school, a serious accident. Eating makes you feel good and the trauma is temporarily pushed into the background.
  • Puberty. This is a period when the body changes and someone can be insecure about that.
  • Low self-esteem, distorted self-image. The pursuit of an ideal image or one’s self-esteem depends on one’s appearance and can contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
  • Wrong examples. Models can be role models for others. If models are very thin, they may feel that this is the norm. And others want to pursue that norm by, for example, dieting, even though they are at a healthy weight.
  • Overweight due to physical predisposition. Because of this excess weight, you start dieting, which increases the chance of developing an eating disorder. Frequent lines or drastic lines are counterproductive. After every attempt at dieting, you only get heavier. You start dieting again and you end up in a downward spiral. The development of an eating disorder is then imminent.

What is a healthy weight?

A guideline that is frequently used is BMI. This stands for Body Mass Index. It is good to realize that there is no such thing as an “ideal weight”. As for the outcome, it matters whether you are a man or a woman. The BMI calculation (also called Quetelet-Index (QI)) does not distinguish between fat mass and muscle mass. This can also create a distorted picture. Everyone is different. Therefore, see your BMI score as a guideline.

These BMI tests apply to men and women aged 20 years and older.

Calculate your BMI

Is your score slightly below or above the indicated limit? That does not necessarily mean that you are under- or overweight or that you have an eating problem or eating disorder. After a few months, take this BMI test again. Are there large fluctuations in the outcome? Then consider the possible causes…

For example, a dietitian or specialized counsellor can think with you about whether you have an eating problem or eating disorder. Make sure you have a healthy lifestyle and a healthy attitude towards food. Then you will feel good about yourself.

Looking for more information?

For more specific information about the most effective addiction treatments available in Spain today, please make contact with our office or use the form here. We will be happy to provide free advice and costs with no obligation.

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