It isn’t about teenage woes any longer: professional women, wives, and expecting mothers are becoming victims of eating disorder. The condition is a complex compulsion to start eating in a way that disturbs psychological and physical wellbeing. It may include normal eating with instances of purging and binging; or may include the ingesting of extra calories.

Women with eating disorders may consider food as the only way to cope with negative emotions. Those with binge eating disorders will consume a large amount of food in a short period and feel shame or guilt afterwards.

Eating disorders may affect an individual’s daily functioning in several ways. Factors to consider include:

  • Social: Thoughts about consumption of food may make you uncomfortable in a social setting; overeating or undereating in front of your peers can raise stress levels.
  • Coping: Is reliance on food is used for managing stressors or coping with life’s problems? Overconsumption makes it a challenge to deal with stress and body-image issues.
  • Concentration: Adverse eating habits may result in loss of concentration in personal and professional life. It may also impede performance at college or workplace.

Women can experience these issues in every type of eating disorder, but they pertain mainly to these three:

Bulimia nervosa

This disorder includes purging and bingeing of food, and includes the intake of an excessive amount of food in a short sitting, and then trying to burn calories via enemas, vomiting, or over-exercising. Symptoms include eating beyond comfortable fullness, extreme dieting over a few months, and increased concern about body shape and weight. The effect can’t be generalized because the condition in present differently in women due to the complexity of the biological system.

Binge Eating Disorder

Most sufferers binge in secret to hide their habits, and eat till they get uncomfortably full. Many victims feel powerless to put an end to eating and feel disgusted, but don’t attempt to reverse the affect as in case of the previous condition. Patients may not be overweight, but health problems related to obesity may arise. Sufferers are also at a risk of depression and potential cardiac problems.

Anorexia nervosa

This is an eating disorder that can negatively affect your health; because of the dread of becoming overweight or feeling disgusted with your body image, mealtime and eating can become an overwhelming affair. Thoughts about eating less and watching what goes into the mouth consumes a major portion of the day, leaving little time for other activities. The sufferer develops a relentless goal of taking extreme measures to lose weight.

Ways to overcome eating disorders

You’ll be glad to know that there are several ways to overcome this condition; the following are some effective treatment options:

Psychologists: An eating disorder psychologist may help treat the condition and is often a part of multidisciplinary teams providing patient care. After identifying and attending to important issues faced by the patient, they help patients to replace negative behaviors and thoughts with positive ones.

Peer and family support: You should know that you can’t overcome a condition like eating disorder overnight. So give time to recovery as you get support from friends and family, reminding yourself that you are in control of your eating and can overcome the condition. Although you are responsible for your own recovery, peers and family members can motivate you to take action.

Educate yourself: Many women facing eating disorders are not aware of the negative consequences of the condition, so reading resources and learning how such disorders can affect your health and wellbeing can motivate you to take steps to overcome them.