An eating disorder that involves ‘purging’ or unhealthy behaviour in order to loose weight, is known as purging disorder.It involves getting rid of food or calories right after they are consumed. It is a form of an addiction. An addiction to loose weight.
Anyone could struggle with purging disorder regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or culture. Typically, people who suffer from this order also suffer from mental conditions specially anxiety or depression.
People who are related to weight-focused sports tend to get this disorder. Also, people who appear on television and/or are concerned with the way they look or are not confident in the way they look are susceptible to purging. Apart from that people who have been a victim of body shaming or any kind of mental or physical abuse could also be suffering from purging behaviour.
Eating disorders are often times mistaken as life choices. These disorders are serious mental illnesses and not deliberate free choices.
These disorders are also linked to common sociocultural stereotypes as thin and lean figures are considered to be ideal.
Now, purging could include various behaviours such as:
- self-induced vomiting,
- misuse of weight reducing supplements or medications,
- excessive exercise
- extreme fasting
Eating disorders are among the most dangerous physical and mental health conditions.
Symptoms of Purging Disorder
It causes the following symptoms:
- Decreased self esteem because of body shape or weight
- Emotional stress that affects personal and social lives including work
- Fear of gaining weight or continued obsession with weight
- Body dissatisfaction
- Frequent looking at oneself or assessing body shape, position, weight
Side effects of purging disorder
- Dental health issues :Tooth decay or enamel erosion
- Throat and face swelling
- Acid reflux
- Oesophageal tearing
- Swollen salivary gland
Abuse or misuse of medicines or supplements
- Heart issues or electrolyte imbalance resulting in a heart attack or a seizure
- Kidney failure or renal bleeding
- Bloating and constipation or other digestive problems. You may also become reliant on medication for bowel movements.
- Palpitations or increased heart rate
- Reduced bone strength
- Dizziness and extreme fatigue also leading to fainting
- Injury resulting from exercises unsuitable for the body type
Other common symptoms of purging Disorder
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Reduced quality of life
- Rapid or unexplained weight loss
- Abrupt mood swings
- Nutrient deficiencies (calcium, magnesium etc)
- Purging behaviour, specially self-induced vomiting, could cause dental problems as well as throat and face swelling.
- These behaviours affect all parts and organs of our body in one way or another and cause severe health issues like kidney failures or issues, cardiac arrest or seizures, digestive problems and so on.
Common behaviours associated with purging disorder
- Bathroom breaks after short intervals; specially after or during food consumption
- Exercising excessively despite being injured, or exercising regardless of the weather conditions
- Avoiding social confrontation or events ; social withdrawal. With purging disorder comes the disability to face society and peers
- Signs of distress if they cant take a bathroom break or exercise. If, for any reason, they are unable to indulge in behaviours associated to purging these people would become anxious or in certain situations depressed.
- People suffering from purging disorder are likely to become more suicidal hence, resorting to self-harm.
- Constantly looking in the mirror to analyse the body situation or frequently checking weight or inches.
These behaviours are typical of people who ‘purge’ in order to loose weight. Even though the purging disorder is not recognised as deadly as other eating disorders, people suffering from this disorder need immediate professional attention.
Effective ways of getting rid of your obsessions and compulsions
Refrain from restricting food or calories
To break the habit of purging disorder addiction there needs to be strong willingness and decision that the concerned person would try not to restrict calories or food intake. And even if the calories taken or the food consumed are more than enough, the person doesn’t indulge in activities like self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives or medications.
Practicing healthy lifestyle
One of the effective ways of overcoming this disorder is by practicing a healthy self-care routine. Sleeping on time, meditation, practicing mindfulness and keeping away from habits or things that trigger this behaviour are some ways of increasing quality of life that would ultimately help overcome purging disorder.
Keeping yourself busy
Another effective way of getting yourself rid of this addictive habit is by keeping yourself busy. Make new goals and plan new or time taking things in order to keep busy. Once the affected person is busy elsewhere it would become a bit easier to control the ‘urges’ that they could get at times.
Making positive affirmations to oneself further helps in getting rid of this disorder. These statements should make the person believe that overcoming this disorder is possible. This would increase body positivity in oneself further helping in eliminating the disorder or at the least reducing symptoms of it.
Getting help from people around you
Getting help from people related to you; family and friends is as important as seeking help from professionals. It would speed up the process of getting better if people around you are aware of the kind of disorder you’re going throught so that they could help in anyway possible to make things easier.
People who normally suffer from purging disorder have a habit of hiding their symptoms and very rarely get help. Usually years of mental and emotional anguish are the reasons addictive purging behaviour. These people also tend to believe that by purging they have some control over their lives. Contrary to that they have close to very little control over their ‘purging urges’ or ‘addictions’.
Purging disorder is treatable and can be cured by seeking professional medical help and by slowly managing these symptoms. Doctors, psychiatrists, dieticians and family members work alongside each other to help people who are going through these disorders. Getting treated for anxiety and depression along with medical help improves the chances of speedy recovery.