Eating disorders are on the rise in several populations around the world. Eating disorders are based on the fact that the more body dissatisfaction people have the more eating disorders people will have. Abraham and Jones (2001) indicated that eating disorders occur because a person loves food and either seeks to control this love rigorously a condition called anorexia nervosa. Intermittently another type of eating disorder is bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder were an individual lacks control over the amount of food eaten (Abraham and Jones, 2001).
Eating disorders are fascinating mental health problems in a number of respects (Gowers & Green 2009). Gowers & Green (2009) noted that nowadays there is the increasing concern that about the growth in rates of obesity resulting from ambivalent attitudes to eating and weight which are shared by many people and the problems and these problems arise from eating disorders. The paradoxical nature of eating disorders makes them interesting which is the typical love hate relationship with food (Gowers & Green, 2009). In their own view Gowers & Green (2009) indicated that eating disorders comprise of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) together with their variants. Eating disorders typically develop in adolescence or early adulthood but sometimes arise in late childhood. They also mentioned that the disorders share much the same psychopathology and many patients migrate between the diagnoses or fulfill only partial syndromes (Gowers & Green, 2009).
From the above observations the reversion of an eating disorder to normal eating depends on several decisions because firstly a person perceives that she has a eating disorder and secondly is that the person believes that if the disordered eating continues it may cause a serious problem to her lifestyle or to her health (Abraham and Jones, 2001). On many occasions people with such conditions are obliged to accept that the benefit or reward of changing the disordered eating behavior exceeds that of the cost of continuing with it at a physical, psychological and social level (Abraham and Jones, 2001).
Clinically eating disorders are syndromes comprising a range of physical, psychological and behavioral features and usually have an impact on social functioning and eventually their effects pervade most areas of the young person’s life (Gowers & Green, 2009). Both AN and BN and most cases of eating disorders share a distinctive core psychopathology that is essentially the same in females and male, adults and adolescents. Gowers & Green (2009) indicated that people with eating disorders judge their self worth. Gowers & Green (2009) also noted that “people with eating disorders desire to exert control over eating and weight features which are often reflected in other aspects of the developing personality and therefore they become obsessed and inflexible” (p. 9).
American Psychiatric Association (2006) says that many efforts have been made to understand how eating disorders develop. This is because the understanding of risk and vulnerability still outweighs our knowledge of protective factors and resilience (American Psychiatric Association, 2006). The book continues to say that well documented clinical histories of patients with eating disorders followed over thirty years from infancy to early midlife. American Psychiatric Association (2006) says that early midlife also suggests several potential risks factors to early perceived body image distortions, body regulatory problems and academic and interpersonal problems which result from almost all types of eating disorders.
According to American Psychiatric Association (2006) it is well known that “the risk of eating disorders is transmitted in families and therefore the importance of offering particular help to patients with eating disorders who are sometimes the mothers” (p. 1159). In this context attention should be paid to the mothering skills of most mothers and also the attachment styles as well as to their offspring to avoid or minimize the risk of eating disorders being transmitted from the mother to her off springs (American Psychiatric Association, 2006). Abraham and Jones (2001) says that “because patients with eating disorders usually have disordered ideas about he nature of the foods they eat or do not eat and because one of the aims of treatment is to restore normal eating behavior a dietitian could play an important role” (p. 113). The role of the dietitian is t help the patient to learn about foods and their nutritional content and establish an appropriate eating behavior to control the eating disorder, and which will essentially help her to recover from her eating disorder (Abraham and Jones, 2001).
Eating disorders can also be treated using psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Abraham and Jones (2001) says that this type of treatment has given superior results in the first two to three months then after twelve months other treatments are can be effective. Abraham and Jones (2001) established that seldom is only one type psychological treatment of eating disorder and related problems. This approach is considered more flexible approach and it includes cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, supportive therapy and nutritional therapy. In their further studies Abraham and Jones found out that treating eating related behavior and thoughts and not the psychological factors associated with maintain the eating disorder would have a poorer log term outcome (2001 p. 114).
On the other hand the American Psychiatric Association (2006) says that “programs have been designed to influence the prevention of eating disorders” (p. 1160). Recent studies indicate that programs vary with their impact ranging from an absence of any effect to a reduction in current and future eating pathology. Some of these programs have resulted in enhanced knowledge about eating disorders and healthy eating. American Psychiatric Association (2006) also found out that “a few of these programs have resulted to improved attitudes towards size, shape, eating and weight and besides that some have addressed self esteem and “weights” and stressed/healthy attitudes and behaviors” (p. 1160).
Physical management of eating disorders can be applied as a treatment method of eating disorders. Gowers & Green (2009) argues that the threshold for medical treatment and intervention in adolescents should be lower than in adults. In line with this Gowers & Green (2009) found out that “there is also the potential for permanent growth retardation if the disorder occurs before fusion of the epiphyses and impaired bone calcification and mass during the second decade of life” (p. 10).
The use of psychotropic medication is not considered a first line treatment for eating disorders. Gowers & Green (2009) says that “lack of studies and negative findings have led to the widely held view that the use of drugs is not justified in the first line of management of eating disorders” (p.11). Due to depression which associated with common types of eating disorders it is commonly associated with low weight and should be managed through psychotherapy accompanying weight gain (Gowers & Green, 2009). Studies show that low doses of the atypical antipsychotics have been used to alleviate anxiety during re-feeding.
In conclusion although eating disorders presents a major challenge to both the victims and psychiatrists the condition is can be managed especially using cognitive psychological therapy. Besides this other form of managing this type of condition are available ranging from the use of a dieting and for the advanced stages drugs can be used as a good method of treating advanced stages of eating disorders. Behavior therapist can play a major role in conditioning these types of patients and they are focused at reducing anxiety which is associated with excessive eating and weight gain.