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Eating Disorders

Hurr Murtaza, D.O.

The world is becoming more and more complex by the day. With that, a bigger spotlight on mental health is growing rapidly. Some don’t realize that eating disorders are grouped into mental health and can be extremely dangerous if not acknowledged and treated.Eating disorders, a mental and physical illness, are when a person has a harmful relationship between food, exercise, and body image.

Roughly 30 million people are affected in the U.S. Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM 5 defines eating disorders as “persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behavior that results in the altered consumption or absorption of food that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning.” There are a few different diagnoses under the umbrella of eating disorders.

  • Anorexia Nervosa - An individual who purposely restrict themselves from eating in fear of gaining weight and has a disturbance of their own weight/body image perception.

  • Bulimia Nervosa - Similar to anorexia nervosa but involves recurrent binge eating with a lack of self control, repeated use of unhealthy behaviors to prevent weight gain such as vomiting, misuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, etc.

  • Binge Eating Disorder - Eating an amount of food that Is much larger than normal portions. There is also a lack of control during these periods. This is similar to Bulimia Nervosa with the binge eating but without the compensatory actions to lose weight.

  • An individual eats non-food substances.

  • Rumination Disorder -  A person regurgitates their food and is not associated with any underlying medical condition

  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder -  There is an avoidance or restriction of food intake thus not satisfying nutritional intake. Avoidance of food can be based on sensory characteristics of food or conditioned negative responses.

These are the major and most common eating disorders. While there may be genetic/biologic, sociologic, or environmental causes of eating disorders sometimes, there may not be a simple identifiable cause. However, identification and treatment are extremely important.

These disorders can affect a person psychologically and physically. Their body may go into a state of malnourishment and not function as it needs to if not supplemented adequately.

If you notice these symptoms or something similar or just want more information, speak to your primary doctor to receive more info. Some of the well-known treatments for these disorders may involve cognitive behavioral therapy. Some individuals may need to be hospitalized due to the severity of their condition and its effect on the body.

If you or a loved one need help, there are several resources such as the Eating Recovery Center that have its own website and phone number to reach out and find treatment suitable for your individual needs.

Dr. Murtaza is a resident physician who sees patients of all ages and provides obstetrical services at Lone Star Family Health Center, a non-profit 501©3 Federally Qualified Health Center operating facilities in Conroe, Spring, Willis, Grangerland, and Huntsville, and serving as home to a fully integrated Family Medicine Residency Program to increase the number of Family Medicine physicians for Texas and our community.