A little about eating disorders

This is a psychological disorder that is related to a person’s attitude to food and eating. It is a disorder that is characterized by gross disturbances in eating behavior and also in how a person reacts to food (

Jul 2, 2023 - 13:30
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A little about eating disorders
A little about eating disorders


By Elijah Asuo Wiredu

There are a number of behaviors in which people deviate from the normal and regular attitudes that we expect. Society has a stock of behaviors and their context of occurring which have been stored in our unconscious minds and which we are expected to be regulated by. Eating disorders are not the only behavior disorders. There are others such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Bipolar Disorder, Learning Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and they can be grouped under classifications such as

  • Emotional disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Disruptive behavioral disorders

What are eating disorders?

This is a psychological disorder that is related to a person’s attitude to food and eating. It is a disorder that is characterized by gross disturbances in eating behavior and also in how a person reacts to food (Lefton, 1997). That is to say that the eating behavior of the victims and how they respond to food remarkably deviate from what society expects.

Types of Eating Disorders.

We will discuss three types of eating disorders. These are

·        Anorexia nervosa

·        Bulimia nervosa

·        Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)

Anorexia nervosa

This is an eating disorder in which a person intentionally refuses to eat. It is more common in females than males and its victims are mostly people who have distortions in their body image regularly. They are regularly disturbed by how they see their own body shape and weight and there is a constant fear that they are gaining too much weight. They refuse food as a way of not adding to the weight that is already disturbing them. Such people do whatever they can to grow thin. In fact, some of them can even go for three days without food and will be only surviving on water, just to reduce or control weight. We can therefore deduce the following as symptoms of anorexia nervosa.

  • ·        Massive loss of weight
  • ·        Intense fear of putting on weight
  • ·        Distortions in body shape and weight
  • ·        Intentional refusal to eat
  • ·        Damage to the muscle tissue of the heart
  • ·        Menstrual disturbances
  • ·        Kidney failure

Bulimia nervosa

This is another form of eating disorders in which victims do binge eating and later purge out the food. It is not as if the person intentionally eats that much but rather there is a kind of obsession by which the victim is compelled to eat a lot. After eating too much, the discomfort forces them to purge the food. They may put their hands in their throat to make them vomit the food. They may also take in drugs that prevent weight gain or use enema. This means that they have the fear that their obsessed behavior will lead them to gain weight. They may also take in laxatives and do a lot of exercises to expel the food and control their weight respectively. The symptoms of bulimia nervosa include the following

  • ·        Excessive eating
  • ·        Vomiting after eating
  • ·        Heart problems
  • ·        Mood swings
  • ·        Worry about how people evaluate them
  • ·        Stomach ulcer
  • ·        Teeth problem
  • ·        Menstrual problems
  • ·        Problems with the blood and hormones
  • Lower sex drive

Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)

This is another type of eating disorder. However, it is not as common as other forms of eating disorder. With Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED), people eat while they are asleep. It is not as if they eat in a dream but they actually walk to the refrigerator to get food to eat without seeing anything. They do not only eat snacks such as pastries and drinks but can eat staple foods like rice and stew, yam, soup, etc., yet they are not aware of anything. In fact, it can be as weird as going to the kitchen to prepare food and eating out of consciousness. There is a similar condition in which the victim is aware of everything and may not be able to sleep again after waking up to eat at night. This condition is known as Night Eating Syndrome (NES). Even if they are able to sleep again they are able to remember everything.


The problem with eating disorders and many other psychological disorders is that a lot of people do not know that they are abnormal conditions that can be treated. Some see it as a normal situation that will disappear with time. Others though see it as abnormal as they but they don’t know where to go or how to deal with it. In Africa and some other parts of the world, it is easy to find spiritual explanations for some of these problems. So I advise that if you are a victim of any psychological abnormality or you know anyone in such a situation, you can see a therapist, a counselor or a clinical psychologist to help you out.

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