Eating Disorders

Recognizing and treating eating disorders

A family of psychological conditions that primarily affects girls and women, eating disorders are defined as abnormal dietary habits that have a profoundly negative effect on a person's psychological and physical health.

The causes of eating disorders are open to debate, but most psychologists believe that the idealized and unattainable female body images in the media are a likely culprit. However, genetic, biochemical, psychological and environmental factors are also believed to play a strong role in the development of eating disorders.

Characteristics of Eating Disorders

Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are the three most common eating disorders. The characteristics of each are as follows:

The treatment of eating disorders tends to focus on therapeutic interventions aimed at helping patients recognize their behaviors and adopt healthier relationships with food. Modalities include cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and family therapy, along with intensive nutrition counseling. In extreme cases, enrolment in an inpatient treatment program is recommended to help the patient overcome their condition in a structured and controlled environment.

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