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The Physical Pain of an Eating Disorder

People struggling with eating disorders put their bodies under immense stress to meet certain standards of weight or appearance. An eating disorder distorts your sense of who you are and your appearance. An eating disorder has many physical side effects because it removes nutrition from the body, leaving it weak. Perhaps one of the biggest issues with eating disorders, according to some studies, is that their physical effects are hard to see until tremendous damage has been done. Some of the many adverse effects of eating disorders are discussed below.

Constant and Unending Hunger

Eating disorders make you crave food, but it can be an unhealthy craving for the wrong things. It can make you crave high-calorie foods full of fat and sugar. Or it can make you crave foods that you know are bad for you, but you won’t let yourself eat these foods even though you crave them. This constant and unending hunger can be physically painful.

Loss of Muscle Mass and Strength

If you have anorexia nervosa, for example, you restrict your food intake to lose weight. It can make you lose weight initially, but it isn’t a healthy weight loss. This is because you’re not just losing fat when you restrict your calorie intake; you’re also losing muscle mass and strength. Eating disorders can cause your body to go into starvation mode, which means your body starts eating away at your muscles for energy.

Severe Dehydration

If you severely restrict the food you eat, you have a higher risk of dehydration. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it takes the water from your blood. This causes your muscles and organs to struggle to get the nutrients they need to function properly. Eating disorders cause dehydration. Some people with eating disorders don’t even feel thirsty. This can cause you to pass out or even die because your organs don’t have enough water to function properly.

Starvation of Vital Organs

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa make your body think it’s starving, so your body takes energy from your vital organs to function. This means your organs, like your heart and kidneys, don’t have enough energy to work properly. Your heart might start to beat irregularly, or your kidneys might not be able to filter out waste from your blood. Both of these conditions can be fatal. People with eating disorders are more likely to have heart problems than people without eating disorders.

The issues discussed above are just a sampling of the physical toll an eating disorder can have on our bodies. The physical toll that eating disorders take on the body is often overlooked when discussing them as mental health conditions; however, they cannot be ignored. The physical effects of an eating disorder must be addressed, and the sooner they are addressed, the better.

If you suspect you have an eating disorder or know someone who does, it is never too soon to look for professional help. Eating disorders can be very dangerous if not treated in time. Eating disorders have been linked to several adverse physical effects, and finding the path to healing and recovery is essential to fighting these negative effects. The physical symptoms associated with an eating disorder are too great to ignore. Please call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800 for more information.