What is an eating disorder (ED)?

Progressive age dictates a series of principles to a person, placing them in new conditions: the desire to look perfect to get what they want, the curious go crazy for the availability, the abundance of food, the pace of life of busy people . erase the fact that you recently had a meal out of your head. The list may be long, but the bottom line is that the listed factors introduce a state of systematic stress, which serves as the basis for the development of eating disorders at any age, regardless of gender.

The first association with such a disorder is being overweight. However, the phenomenon is accompanied by a series of problems:

  • obesity;
  • dystrophy;
  • problems of social adaptation;
  • psychosomatic (health problems due to the influence of psychological factors);
  • decreased vitality, etc.

If you do not provide professional assistance in treatment in time, life turns to horror. To do this, it is important to monitor violations of eating habits, to have information on disorders of this type. In this article, you will learn:

  • what is an eating disorder (TED);
  • what are the reasons for the development of the disease;
  • types, specificity of manifestation;
  • how to independently diagnose RPP (test questionnaire);
  • prevention and treatment.

Eating disorder: what is it?

Not responding to an eating disorder, taking it lightly is a big mistake. Initially, the picture seems harmless: refusal of breakfast or dinner, breakdowns, attempts to eat everything that appears in front of your eyes. There is a risk that both options will turn into serious health problems. To assess the magnitude of the tragedy, you need to understand what types of violations they are.

From a medical point of view, eating disorder in children and adults is a change in behavioral mechanisms under the influence of psychogenic factors. Expressed as:

  • eating disorders (frequency, portions);
  • skipping food;
  • hearty sandwiches, etc.

Such non-standard situations become habitual and lead to a malfunction of the body’s functional systems and even death. It is important to track the symptoms in time and solve the problem.

Types and forms

There are several types of RPP. The phenomenon is complex, which complicates the situation.


Patients with a similar diagnosis refuse to eat food even with severe hunger, an obvious physiological need. The need to stick to strict low-calorie diets trumps common sense, and breaking the rules creates deep feelings of guilt. Anorexia nervosa is defined by symptoms:

  • limit food intake even with a low total body weight;
  • obsession with being overweight;
  • distortion of ideas about the image of the body;
  • obsessive fear of gaining weight;
  • isolation, apathy;
  • carry out cardiovascular workouts of a long and monotonous nature;
  • amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for more than three months).

Medical intervention is needed to provide outpatient care. Complex cases involve voluntary or compulsory hospital treatment.


The opposite of anorexia is bulimia. An uncontrolled amount of food is absorbed at one time, leading to overeating. This is followed by the deliberate provocation of vomiting to cleanse the stomach of swallowed food. The compensatory form of the disease is the intentional performance of intense and exhausting training.

The process is accompanied by a persistent fear of gaining weight and doubts, dissatisfaction with appearance. Symptoms:

  • frequent large meals;
  • vomiting
  • the use of laxatives, enemas;
  • fear of weight gain;
  • dissatisfaction with appearance;
  • excessive physical activity.

At first, overeating occurs 1-2 times a week, followed by an increase in days of secret environmental breakdowns. If the behavior does not return to normal in two to three months, the intervention of medicine and / or psychology is required. Risk group: girls under 25 years of age.

Compulsive overeating

When an irresistible desire to eat systematically arises, there is a risk of observing the development of a psychogenic illness. The patient continues to eat even in the absence of hunger. Similarly, the body reacts to stressful stimuli: difficulties at work or school, problems in personal life or at home, the reasons are individual. The risk group are people prone to being overweight. Symptoms:

  • overeating (large portions consumed per day);
  • fast food intake;
  • being hungry even after eating;
  • feeling of guilt, responsibility;
  • method of self-punishment;
  • eat food when no one is watching (alone).

If compared to bulimia, in this case, the process is not accompanied by the provocation of vomiting, which makes the disorder especially dangerous. Rapid increase in body weight leads to obesity with characteristic symptoms:

  • health problems;
  • decreased self-esteem;
  • feelings of guilt, accompanied by depression;
  • suicidal thoughts, inclinations.

Psychogenic vomiting

This eating disorder is born from mental and emotional symptoms: hypochondria, dissociative disorders. The result is exhaustion. The variability of the manifestation of the disease:

  • loss of appetite (psychogenic origin);
  • desire to eat inedible material (plastic, iron, etc.);
  • the need to consume inedible biomaterial;
  • overeating of an obsessive-compulsive nature (obsessive thoughts about food, all-inclusive meals, etc.);
  • selective choice of products: exclusion of food groups or specific products from the diet, categorical refusal to include new items on the menu;
  • external type – appetite arises from seeing food, a set table, knowledge about products in the kitchen, and not from a physiological need;
  • internal type: the absence of internal personal attitudes towards food restriction. In an effort to lose weight, sometimes the decision to “eat less” is not enough, you have to look for volitional reasons for the restrictions in eating, as the resulting emotional oppression is outside the comfort zone.

In the process, the patient realizes that they have lost control over the actions, but nothing can be done about it. The remorse and shame lead to a state of stress, which again causes the person to eat again. Cleaning the stomach occurs involuntarily.


Although orthorexia is not included in the list of the International Classification of Diseases, the phenomenon deserves a separate consideration.

The peculiarity of the food policy is built with an obsessive desire for PP (correct) and a healthy diet, accompanied by an obsessive calculation of the caloric content of the diet, adherence to the temporal range in any circumstance and the restriction of the food basket .

The manic phenomenon was studied by Stephen Bratman in the 70s with the example of a commune that consumes exclusively organic products.

The popularization of sports and the canons of a healthy lifestyle forces doctors and psychologists to study the problems of the following extremes:

  • ingredients are selected based on quality characteristics, not personal preferences;
  • the main reason is health;
  • exclusion from the menu of salt, sugar, fatty products, starch, gluten, yeast, alcohol, preservatives, caffeine;
  • stick to specific diets (ketogenic diet, raw food diet, etc.);
  • psychological barriers and fear of “harmful” components;
  • self-punishment for violating the diet plan (fasting, fasting days);
  • cooking food using a strictly defined method (steaming, boiling, baking);
  • planning the menu of the day, of the week;
  • grading of society into “friends” (like-minded people) and “outsiders” (whose ideas about nutrition are different). Accompanied by a sense of superiority.

Reasons for development

There are several reasons why the disease manifests itself:

  • 1. Genetic

Scientists have shown that a problem in parents and close relatives increases the risk of developing anorexia or bulimia by up to 60%.

  • 2. Education

It is a well known fact that children adopt habits and behavior patterns from their parents. Food obsession and incentives “to keep the plate clean”, “all the power is in the last spoon”, “in my youth we were starving, so respect the efforts of others – eat completely! ! » distort the child’s perception.

  • 3. Social

Social disappearance, inability to integrate into the team, and rejection from society distort the individual’s self-esteem, leading to RAP (“taking over” the problem, finding support in food). The laws of fashion act as a powerful trigger: the promotion of thinness by models, show business, etc.

  • 4. Psychological

Low self-esteem, depression, negative emotional states eliminate the sequence of daily events, which can distort the perception of the world around us and opinions about food. This includes excessive perfectionism, when a person’s expectations of himself, the environment, do not correspond to reality.

  • 5. Traumatic events

Losses, victims of mental, physical violence, a sudden change in environment, lifestyle, activity change, collapse of moral values, fundamentals: traumatic incidents cause psychogenic eating disorders.

  • 6. Addiction

Alcoholism, drug addiction.

Anyone can become hostage to the disease, but women are the main risk group. A separate category: girls from 13 to 18 years old and athletes.

Consequences and complications

Incoming food restriction (anorexia) causes:

  • gastrointestinal tract pathology;
  • vitamin deficiency;
  • the development of osteoporosis;
  • Iron deficiency anemia;
  • hypotension, muscular dystrophy;
  • decreased quality of hair, skin and nails;
  • organ tightness;
  • fatal outcome.

Bulimia and psychogenic vomiting are accompanied by:

  • chronic sore throat, inflammation;
  • destruction of tooth enamel;
  • discomfort, irritation of the intestines;
  • dehydration;
  • renal insufficiency.

Awareness and acceptance of the problem do not reach the patient immediately, therefore the initial diagnosis occurs 1-3 years after the onset of RPE.

Categories: food, Health