Health & Wellness

SPECIAL BUSINESS HEALTH EDITION: Eating Issues Can Arise from Periods of Great Stress

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Eating issues may impact your psychological and physiological well-being and can be caused by too much stress in your life. Eating disorders may include bulimia nervosa, binge-eating and anorexia nervosa – and any one of these can cause other severe health problems.

Other health issues caused by eating disorders may include digestive problems, cardiovascular issues, teeth and mouth problems and may impact your bones or other parts of the body because you’re not getting the nutrition you need.

If you believe you’re suffering from an eating issue caused by too much stress in your life, it’s imperative that you get it under control by learning some stress-relief management techniques.

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Stress-caused eating disorders may arise from a negative body image. Those who suffer most from eating disorders may have feelings of isolation, depression and low self-confidence and become obsessed with losing weight to gain a positive body image.

Another stressor that causes eating disorders is bullying. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects (including low self-esteem) from kids’ bullying them at school or in social situations.

Stereotyping can also stress children and adults to the point of developing an eating disorder. When you base your personal image on the images you see in magazines or media, it can be mentally damaging – and physically harmful when you begin to eat in harmful ways.

An unlikely stressor for eating issues includes problems with the obesity prevention messages. When words such as obesity, diet and BMI are commonplace as they are in today’s society, it may overemphasize weight and, unfortunately, emphasize eating disorders.

Some symptoms of an eating disorder include adapting to an over-restrictive type of dieting, self-induced isolation from others, eating large amounts of high-calorie or sugary foods, exercising excessively or eating secretly and hoarding food.

Anorexia nervosa is common in teens. It’s an eating disorder in which the person has an acute fear of gaining weight and an obsession to be thin. They restrict their food intake and may induce vomiting or ingest laxatives to lose more weight.

When you notice a pattern that could be or lead to an eating disorder, it should be a red flag to get yourself or loved one to a health care provider. Also, learn as much as you can about eating disorders and how you can help yourself or your loved one.

Stress-management techniques can help to thwart feelings that lead to eating disorders. Sometimes, these methods are taught in schools, but you may need to get outside help for some.

Don’t ignore signs and symptoms of eating disorders. The faster you can get help and learn how to deal with the stresses that cause them, the better it will be for your physical and mental well-being.

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