Purging disorder has been recognized by doctors quite recently. For this reason, many people do not have enough knowledge about it. Read this article to get a brief overview about this disorder.
Purging disorder is also referred to as purging eating disorder. In recent times, it has been found in more number of women who are obsessed with their body weight in order to stay in shape. As the name suggest, people affected by this disorder tend to evacuate their bowel mostly by self-induced vomiting, or using laxatives. We all have full control over the amount of food that we eat but people with eating disorder lose that control. After eating, they feel conscious that they have eaten a lot and then they try to compensate for that by eliminating the food from the body as fast as possible and thereby prevent weight gain.
Characteristics of Purging Disorder
This eating disorder is a bit different from two other common disorders: anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is more commonly found in those women who are underweight but women with purging disorder usually have a normal body weight, or slightly less than that. Its difference with bulimia lies with the fact that these women do not indulge into binge eating prior to purging. People with this disorder usually do not find the need for fasting or heavy exercising.
There are different purging methods used by different people. They may induce vomiting using their fingers. Some may consume some substances that can make them vomit. Some of them take high doses of over the counter laxatives in order to eliminate the foods and drinks fast. Enemas are also used to remove the excess contents from the body.
Powerful over the counter diuretics are taken to get rid of extra water from the body and thus, they reduce the water weight. They indulge into all these activities just because they want to get rid of the underlying fear of weight gain. After the act of purging, the sense of fullness in the stomach is gone and they feel relieved temporarily.
How to Identify Purging Disorder?
The purging behavior of an individual can be identified with the help of one or more following signs and symptoms:
- The first thing that you can notice in them is that they are absolutely obsessed with body weight and shape. They look in the mirror several times just to reassure themselves that they are thin and attractive. They keep weighing or measuring themselves very frequently to check out their weight and size.
- They complain about fullness and discomfort in the stomach even after limited amount of food intake. They always feel that they have indulged in overeating.
- Soon after eating, they spend a lot of time in the bathroom if they try to throw up. The physical signs that can be seen after throwing up are swollen cheeks and red eyes.
- Excessive use, or rather misuse, of laxatives for no reason. This is an obvious indication that the person is using laxatives as a purging method.
- People with purging disorder suffer from anxiety and depression. So far, it is not clearly known whether depression induces this disorder, or it is the other way round.
- At a later stage, they start enjoying the act of purging, as if it releases their emotions.
So far, there is no specific treatment plan for this disorder. Those who are suffering from this disorder for quite some time develop various health complications. They include dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, anemia, low blood pressure, problem in the esophagus, irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia and so on. Therefore, doctors first try to treat these conditions in order to prevent any serious health risks. Along with the medicines for treating the medical problems, they also prescribe suitable nutritional supplements to control muscle weakness, fatigue and lethargy and thus, bring about improvement in the overall health condition.
These people should consult a dietitian who will provide them with proper information about importance of nutrition and healthy eating. The dietitian will also prepare a healthy diet plan for them so that they can have their foods without any fear of weight gain. They can also undergo therapies for eating disorder. People with purging disorder actually feel that their self worth is absolutely dependent on their weight and size. They need help from counselors who can guide them to cope up with their obsession. This will help them to overcome this disorder.
It is not clearly known why some people develop purging disorder while others do not. There is one common factor which has driven most women into this disorder. It is the fetish to get a thin, shapely body. For them, the only definition of beauty is a thin body. This constant pressure to stay thin often leads them to this kind of disorder.