What is an eating disorder?
An imbalance in regular eating habits which, may be eating too less or acute overeating may be termed as an eating disorder. It is important to draw a line between normal dieting and overeating and; an eating disorder. Eating disorder is an “illness” when a person “may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spiraled out of control.”
Eating disorders can be of different types: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating problem are some common types of eating disorders. Although, these affect adults, eating orders are seen in children and teens too.
Data Source: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders
Created by: Smita Dwivedi (using Microsoft PowerPoint)
Dr. Sonya Patel, a certified Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine practitioner with over 10 years of experience says that, out of all the factors being explored, society and family does plays a vital role both as a cause as well as the treatment of this illness.
Dr. Patel, who is of Indian origin, was born and brought up in the UK and practices in the USA. She says from her experience that ethnicity and social image contributes largely to this condition. Teenage girls of different origins are prone to succumb to such conditions due to the pressure of “fitting in.” Constant reminder from friends and family to live up to a particular social image serves as a catalyst to lower self-esteem and construct a poor self-opinion.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) also talks about the social factors that can lead to an eating disorder. Cultural pressures that rave about the “perfect body,” a very biased and narrow definition of beauty, stress arising from racial, ethnic, size/weight, and appearance related discrimination.
Scientists are still exploring psychological factors, genetic and biological factors, and behavioral and social factors to solve this dangerous condition, which not only targets an individual physically but also has a destructive effect on the mental and emotional health. According to NIH, psychotherapy interventions are also being studied. One such study of adolescents found that more adolescents with bulimia nervosa recovered after receiving Maudsley model family-based treatment than those receiving supportive psychotherapy that did not specifically address the eating disorder.
Addressing the issue of eating disorders and their treatment, Dr. Patel, who is also a mother, encourages parents to empathize and “to hear them out, not judge them.” She says, teaching our children to be independent, to teach them to acknowledge a problem if it is there and, then help them solve it will definitely make a difference.
Dr. Patel also talks about alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbs that are safe and very beneficial for helping patients of eating disorders. She has been successfully leading her patients to a safe and healthy lifestyle at Mirvana Acupuncture based in Sugarland, Texas.
“Don’t stress over what other people think of you. Spend more time and energy paving the way for the future. You’ll be happy you did.”
– Dr. Sonya Patel, LAC
Eating Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml#part_145410
Factors That May Contribute to Eating Disorders | National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/factors-may-contribute-eating-disorders
Get The Facts On Eating Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders