‘What’s eating you?’ TAMC provides support

| February 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Eating disorders

Eating disorders

Kristi Hayashida
Tripler Army Medical Center
HONOLULU — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, serious disturbances in eating behavior and weight regulations cause more deaths than any other mental illness.

Most eating disorders begin with patients thinking about their weight, body shape and food. It is a serious emotional and physical problem that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males of any age.

Maj. Christian Schrader, chief of Inpatient Psychiatry at Tripler Army Medical Center, states that patients who seek treatment for an eating disorder in the Behavioral Health Center are already suffering from medical problems or symptoms that impair their ability to function normally at work or home.

Eating disorders launched into social awareness during the late 1970s and 1980s. A majority of patients suffering from eating disorders at that time were adolescent girls in pursuit of having the “skinny is beautiful” stereotype-body set forth by the media.

Recently, doctors have discovered a disturbing increase of men, but mostly women, with eating disorders in their late 20s, 30s and 40s.

According to the CDC, there are many misconceptions about what causes an eating disorder within our society. Social acceptance is not the only reason people develop an eating disorder. There are also complex factors, including genetics, biochemical, psychological, cultural and environmental causes that contribute to an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are an illness, not a character flaw or choice, according to the CDC.

Before modern research discovered that there is more than one characterized eating disorder, its categories had two main entries: anorexia and bulimia.
•Anorexia nervosa, meaning lack of appetite and nervous disorder, involves self-starvation. It is an extremely serious, life-threatening eating disorder, leading to a massive loss of weight.  The CDC states that anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition.
•Bulimia nervosa, meaning hungry ox and nervous disorder, is characterized by a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting or over use of laxatives and diuretics.

Inadequate food intake denies the body from receiving the proper nutrients it needs to function normally. Patients suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa will experience a lower heart rate and blood pressure, muscle loss and weakness, hair loss, fatigue and overall weakness. The effects of these disorders include dehydration leading to kidney failure, osteoporosis, severe damage to the brain and the entire digestive system.

According to Schrader, Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder between men and women. BED should not be confused with occasional overeating. BED involves frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food to the point of discomfort without any means to prevent weight gain.

Many suffering from BED will experience weight gain, but it is important to note that not everyone who is overweight binges or has BED. The long-term effects of BED are heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes and fatigue.

Schrader is concerned for the men and women who serve our country during the months leading up to physical training tests. Many service members resort to crash diets and excessive use of dietary supplements because of the rigorous standards in the military. Unhealthy attempts to lose weight quickly may inflict needless stress on the body and possibly lead to an eating disorder.

TAMC support
“Patients have a fear of rejection and being judged,” Schrader said. “Thankfully, TAMC has great providers in Behavioral Health, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics who are open and willing to assist those who need and want to become healthier.”

Schrader welcomes anyone suffering from an eating disorder to visit the Behavioral Health Center, to receive confidential treatment.

“The best way to avoid an eating disorder is to look at a long-term, attainable goal for weight loss, and one that involves healthy eating habits and exercise,” Schrader suggested. “The best way to prevent harm from any eating disorder is to ask for help.”

TAMC Tip: Preventing pregnancy Infections

Tripler Army Medical Center logoLearn how to help prevent infections during pregnancy and help keep you and your unborn baby safe.
•Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
•Try not to share forks, cups and food with young children.
•Cook your meat until it’s well done.
•Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods from raw milk.
•Do not touch or change cat litter.
•Stay away from wild or pet rodents and their droppings.
•Talk to your doctor or nurse about vaccinations, group B strep and sexually transmitted diseases.
•Avoid people who have an infection, such as chicken pox or rubella, if you have not yet had it yourself or did not have the vaccine before pregnancy.

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Category: Health

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