Eating disorders are abnormal eating habits which affect an individual’s physical and mental health. It may involve either insufficient or excessive food consumption, leading even to mortality in some cases.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) feels that eating disorders affect millions every year in the U.S. Unfortunately, rest of the world is not far behind…
Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa are considered to be the two main eating disorders. Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by binge eating or the consumption of a large quantity of food in a short amount of time and purging it, before it gets processed by the digestive track. Binge eating disorder has been recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association. Anorexia Nervosa, on the other hand, is characterised by inadequate food intake and self-starvation.
The health implications of Bulimia Nervosa include peptic ulcers, pancreatitis and electrolyte imbalance. On the other hand, Anorexia Nervosa can slow down the heart rate and blood pressure considerably. At times, kidney failure and osteoporosis are also attributed to Anorexia Nervosa.
A typical patient with eating disorder is treated as an out-patient. However, hospitalisation is recommended if an eating disorder had led to severe physical and psychological problems in an individual.
NEDA feels that the following psychological factors, apart from the genetical ones, contribute to eating disorders.
- Low self-esteem
- Depression, anxiety, anger and stress
- Feelings of inadequacy or lack of control over life
Meditation can help overcome eating disorders… Various studies have shown that meditation can bring down stress, anxiety, depression and anger considerably. Meditation also makes a person emotionally stable. An emotionally stable individual will have higher levels of self-esteem and will be more organised and responsible. A responsible person will be more conscious of his physical health and will try to consume optimum quantity of food.