Eating habits are vital to having a healthy body and mind but some people have difficulty maintaining a good balance of proper eating habits. Many suffer from eating disorders as a part of stages or routines in their daily lives but cannot be classified as a serious illness.
It can influence one’s entire social life and even affect them mentally, with an addition of physical weakness which puts lives in danger. Several types of research show that it can be treated as a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) textbook mental disorder. An estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in the USA are recorded to have an eating disorder.
What Are Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can be classified as abnormal eating habits resulting in a condition of disorders that greatly affects the person’s normal lifestyle. An eating disorder like overeating may lead to body weakness and even death.
It can be manifested in different signs and symptoms, some in over-restriction of food or pursuit of inappropriate food, or behaviors such as vomiting and overactivity. Everyone is vulnerable; it affects all ages and gender but mostly in the age of adolescence, especially in young women. Many who reported were as young as 13 years old, a whole 13 percent of the total youth population.
Different types of eating disorder
The most common and popular type of eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa affects mostly young adolescence and it greatly affects more women than men. People suffering from anorexia nervosa tend to either overweight or critically underweight. Some noticeable behaviors include constantly monitoring their weight, severely restricting their calorie intake, or avoiding certain food groups.
Bulimia nervosa is another well-known eating disorder. Like anorexia, it develops during adolescence period up to early adulthood. It is developed during adolescence age and its population is not merely women. It can have a manifestation of a large amount of food intake in a short period of time. A person who suffers from the disorder has no control over their eating habit and does not stop until they are satisfied fully.
Binge Eating Disorder
Over the past few years, binge eating increasingly grows to become one of the most common eating disorder in the US. People suffering from binge eating disorder have similar symptoms that of bulimia or anorexia. They usually eat large amounts of food in a relatively short period of time and typically lost self-control during binges.
People suffering from binge eating disorder do no restrict their calories intake or have any purging behaviors like to the two previous disorders.
The medical community recently recognized Pica as an eating disorder which involves uncontrollable ingestion of dirt, soil, chalk, hair, paper cloth, pebbles and even laundry detergents. Pica occurs in an adult, particularly in adolescents. Pica is most commonly observed in pregnant women and people with mental disabilities. Unlike other eating disorders, people with Pica conditions are prone to high risk of poisoning, infections and nutritional deficiencies leading to fatal health conditions.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
It occurs in infancy or in early childhood days especially the younger one under 7 years old below. It manifestation include loss the interest in eating or unable to taste different kinds of food in way of smell, and in other important things in a sense regarding in food influence. Avoidant or restrictive food in the taking disorder (ARFID) was the previous name for this old disorder.
Factors that trigger eating disorders
There are no exact causes of anorexia but there are various factors to consider in the development of disorders such as the following;
- Mental factor – the emotional situation can cause of this like depression that affect mental ability.
- Environmental factor – family background may pose a risk of developing eating disorders if a family member already acquired an eating disorder.
- Hereditary factor – certain genes or hormones carry a hereditary factor that might trigger an eating disorder.
All eating disorders should be treated as early as possible. This is to lessen the number of different physical health risks for people suffering from eating disorders. Also, early intervention showed better outcomes of recovery.
Common eating disorder treatments include antidepressant medications and cognitive behavior therapy. However, it is still difficult to treat eating disorders with no definite guarantee of success.
TMS poses a new way of treating eating disorders
An estimated 8 million Americans suffer from chronic eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Medical professionals commonly treat eating disorders with prescription drugs and behavioral therapy, but it does not help everyone.
New research shows that Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS poses a possible significant medical breakthrough in treating people suffering from eating disorders. In a case study done in 2011, a patient who was diagnosed with both bulimia and depression underwent rTMS for 2 weeks and had an almost complete recovery from both conditions.
Scientists believe that eating disorders are a characteristic derived from the brain circuits associated with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the brain. rTMS is known to stimulate an inactive region of the brain while suppressing the hyperactive part. Another study shows that patients with eating disorders symptoms received significant recovery after 6 months of rTMS treatment. Using rTMS as an alternative treatment for eating disorders can normalize brain activity associated with mood regulations.