There are many myths and falsehoods surrounding losing weight which people engaged in dangerous eating habits practice. These misconceptions are harmful and detrimental to both mental and physical health.
Laxatives don’t make you lose weight. Laxatives work in the lower bowel after the kilojoules have already been absorbed. Using laxatives excessively can cause permanent damage to your body, resulting in chronic irregular bowel movements and/or constipation or bloating.
Similarly, it is a myth that vomiting makes you lose weight, as the body begins to utilise the food very quickly after consumption. Vomiting to get rid of food can cause irreversible tooth enamel damage which can result in chipped teeth. Inflammation and or rupture of the esophagus is another consequence of frequent vomiting , as is indigestion and reflux. Other side-effects of frequent vomiting include anxiety and heart palpitations, puffy skin under the eyes, risk of osteoporosis, clammy hands and tremors.
Both vomiting and laxative misuse depletes your body of essential minerals and lead to chemical imbalances that can cause fluid and electrolyte disturbances which have very serious impacts on the body.
Negative stigma and shame often stand in the way of recovery, with many people suffering in silence. One of the hardest things about having an eating disorder is realising and admitting you have a problem. Sometimes an eating disorder develops so gradually, that you may not notice until things get extremely difficult for you. It is important that if you believe you have an eating disorder to seek professional assistance immediately. It can be scary to make this first step, however the earlier help is sought the quicker the road to recovery.
The first point of contact should be a General Practitioner (GP) who can provide an initial assessment of your physical state and diagnose the nature and severity of the eating disorder. A Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist are also able to diagnose in the event that you have an Eating Disorder. . Whether you choose to consult with a GP, Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist and in the event that you are diagnosed with an Eating Disorder, they can provide you with options and referrals for further treatment in light of your personal circumstances and current physical state.
Many sufferers learn or know about the consequences their behaviours can have on their physical health but engage in dangerous behaviours not because of lack of will power or choice, but more so because they are very unwell and believe they are deserving of self punishment. This why it is important that people suffering from eating disorders seek professional support to help them recover so that they can learn alternate positive coping strategies to manage the intense emotions they experience.