Vital: A Little Food for Thought; ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA ARE NIGHTMARE CONDITIONS FOR MANY YOUNG WOMEN BUT HELP'S AT HAND IN EATING DISORDER AWARENESS WEEK
Byline: By Craig McQueen
WITH one in 20 young women in Britain having an eating disorder,it's no surprise that conditions such as anorexia and bulimia are every parent's worst nightmare.
But it's not just girls in their teens and early-20s who are at risk, and neither is it simply a case of our unhealthy obsession with looking thin that's to blame. In Eating Disorder Awareness Week, here's a simple guide to the issues involved.
WHAT ARE EATING DISORDERS?
An eating disorder is a serious mental illness, rather than a lifestyle choice, a passing fad or a phase. While it is treatable, sufferers are more likely to make a recovery the sooner they are treated. Eating disorders can be recognised by a persistent pattern of unhealthy eating or dieting behaviour that can cause health problems and/or emotional and social distress.
WHAT IS ANOREXIA?
Anorexia nervosa accounts for only about 10 per cent of eating disorders, making it the rarest form, and it typically affects people between the ages of 12 and 20. Sufferers do not maintain or have a body weight that is normal or expected for their age and height. Typically, this means that a person is less than 86 per cent of their expected weight, and yet they continue to be fearful of weight gain.This affects self-esteem and relationships with others, and yet sufferers often do not recognise the seriousness of the problem.
WHAT IS BULIMIA?
Bulimia nervosa accounts for about 40 per cent of eating disorders, and normally affects people between the ages of 18 and 25. Sufferers experience bingeeating episodes which are marked by eating an unusually large amount of food, usually within a couple of hours, and feeling out of control while doing so. This is followed by attempts to "undo" the consequences of the binge by using unhealthy behaviours such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, diuretics, severe caloric restriction, or excessive exercising.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER TYPES?
Yes. The third official category is "eating disorder not otherwise specified" or "Ednos" for short. This describes people who do not have the full set of symptoms for either anorexia or bulimia, but may have aspects of both. …