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National Eating Disorders Day, how to spot them and what to do

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National Eating Disorders Day, how to spot them and what to do

March 15th is the national day dedicated to Eating Disorders. This and much more will be discussed in Perugia, at the Sala dei Notari, on the occasion of the awareness and prevention event organized by Corabea, to address the widespread topic by including schools, universities, psychologists and nutritionists who are experts in the sector. Among these is the psychologist Dr. Lorenzo Montecchiani.

What is meant by “eating disorders”? Is there a psychological component?

Eating and Nutrition Disorders (DAN), commonly called eating disorders, represent a real social epidemic of our time: they are pathologies that affect the body, but which inhabit and torment the mind of the person who becomes ill. They can present themselves in many different forms, such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, to name the best known, but there is one aspect that unites them all: a strong obsession with food and shapes of your body. Those who suffer from an eating disorder become obsessed with food: by their pursuit of having large binges or their avoidance of it for fear that it will cause large weight gain; it’s as if he lives all day with a constant noise in his ears, with a sort of intrusive refrain that guides his actions and dictates, out loud, what he should or shouldn’t eat.

The same goes for the body, which becomes a source of worry and profound discomfort, so the person tries to control its weight and shape, which are never satisfactory enough. In some cases, especially in those who suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia, the picture is aggravated by a phenomenon called body dysperception, whereby the person sees a deformed body reflected in the mirror, never thin enough for girls or never muscular enough for men. guys, which causes great discomfort. Disperception is a neurophysiological alteration; scientists have shown that some brain areas responsible for vision are no longer functioning, they no longer light up, during the period of the disease. It is as if for a certain period the brain becomes “blind” regarding the perception of one’s own body.

It can therefore be understood that someone who suffers from DAN is neither a spoiled person who throws tantrums at the table, nor a greedy person who, due to lack of willpower, is unable to stop in front of tasty foods, nor even someone who wants a slim body so you can look like a model. From a psychological perspective, we can look at the eating disorder as the only answer that very sensitive people find to cope with an internal suffering that becomes unbearable to feel: the disorder becomes the only solution that the person finds to manage the great psychological pain and emotional that afflicts her. This psychic suffering in most cases arises from a relational wound within family or social ties, where difficulties are created which, if they cannot be resolved and healed through communication, then manifest themselves through the body, which acts as stage to a much deeper pain.

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The disease then deludes those who suffer from it that it is the cure for their internal suffering: this is because obsessive thoughts about food and the body, daily rituals, hyperactivity, binges, take the place of the relational pain from which the person suffered.

How to identify eating disorders?

Eating disorders are pathologies that are difficult to intercept, in fact they are defined as “ego-syntonic”: those who suffer from them are not aware of them and do not consider it a problem, even going so far as to deny their behaviors. Indeed, in some cases and especially in the initial moments of the disorder, the person experiences a phase that clinicians symbolically call “honeymoon”, in which those affected have the sensation of being better, of feeling stronger, more competent and energetic. in study or work thanks to control over food, convincing themselves that they have found a solution to their suffering. For this reason, it is really important that there is someone at the side of those who fall ill with DAN, a parent, a partner, a teacher or a friend for example, who knows how to read the first signs of the onset of the pathology. In fact, the sooner the signs of an eating disorder are identified, the sooner one turns to specialized treatment and the greater the chances of recovery.

Here are some behaviors that could signal the presence of a DAN: – the person changes their eating habits, both in the quantity of food they eat (eating too much or too little), and in the quality (seeking light or diet foods), and becomes much more attentive to counting Kcal

he talks more often about food, developing an unusual interest in cooking, and weighs himself more frequently – he dedicates much more time to physical activity, which goes from being a hobby to an obsession that he must carry out daily, he tends to avoid situations convivial with family or friends, retiring at home he often goes to the bathroom after meals and often asks for reassurance regarding his physical appearance and his weight. Sometimes a further alarm bell can be represented by a considerable change in weight in a short period of time, although many people can maintain a constant weight and be of normal weight despite already being deeply obsessed with food and their body. Thus, even before a physical change occurs, a fundamental signal to intercept consists of a major psychological and character change in the person; from being sunny and sociable, she can become introverted, grumpy and less interested in hanging out with people, she becomes more irascible, showing angry and aggressive reactions while feeling very tired, she is unable to rest or sleep as before, she can have strong mood swings accompanied from frequent crying fits he could report self-harmful behavior, such as scratches, wounds or abrasions.

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