It’s possible to say that eating disorders have progressed in parallel with the current beauty standards. The desire to be thin, especially in women, the idealization of a flawless physique, and the aspiration for the desired attractiveness contribute significantly to the increasing prevalence of this condition. The societal perception of beauty in the modern era has led to a parallel increase in the occurrence of eating disorders.
When looking at the fundamental psychological reasons for eating disorders, it draws attention to the individual’s perception of perfectionism. Individuals with eating disorders are patterned with perfectionistic views, focusing on dieting, weight control efforts, and constant preoccupation with their physical appearance. A perfectionistic personality and self-concept are commonly observed in individuals diagnosed with eating disorders.
Among eating disorders, the most well-known are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Briefly describing them;
Anorexia Nervosa is our first recognized disorder among eating disorders. Regardless of a person’s height, age, or gender, individuals with this disorder do not accept the healthy weight they should be and constantly feel uncomfortable about their body, even if it is the desired weight. These individuals, despite being thin, have an excessive fear of gaining weight. Even if they start losing weight, they fear gaining weight. Noticeable excessive thinning is a characteristic feature of these individuals.
Bulimia Nervosa is a disorder commonly encountered in the adolescent period. Self-induced vomiting, often seen after eating voraciously, is a common behavior. Similar to Anorexia Nervosa patients, there is a weight control problem, and these individuals feel ashamed and engage in self-induced vomiting. The weight of Bulimia Nervosa patients is generally normal. Although they eat excessively, they can maintain normal weight due to inducing vomiting after eating.
So, is it possible to treat eating disorders?
Yes, it is possible. Treatment requires a collaborative approach led by a specialist psychiatrist and clinical psychologist, involving healthcare personnel such as dietitians, orthopedics, endocrinology, physiotherapists, and nurses. The patient’s and family’s involvement is crucial for successful treatment.
It should be clearly explained how achieving an appropriate body weight affects both physical and mental well-being. Convincing the patient, making them aware of the effects of the disease is essential. Psychotherapy sessions, held with the family if necessary, aim to help the individual regain their identity and self-esteem. While the patient can be discharged from the hospital when they reach the desired weight, continuous monitoring is essential due to the high relapse rate of the disease.
The conditions brought by time emphasize the importance of maintaining mental health for overall well-being. Integrating mental and physical health is possible.
Take care of yourself, stay healthy…
Psychologist Kevser YILDIRIM