Behavioral health conditions such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder can cause a number of health issues. While these symptoms vary in severity, many people are not aware that they differ in duration as well. Consequences like weakened bowels, stunted bone growth and neurocardiac dysfunction are often times irreparable.
Laxative abuse = maximum pains
The first permanent symptom of having an eating disorder can arise if individuals abuse certain medications like laxatives in order to keep their weight down. Hugh Herzig, M.D., the consultant psychiatrist for the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association (SWEDA), stated that laxative misuse will specifically disrupt the stomach’s fluids and muscles.
Herzig summarized that forced and repeated stimulation of the bowels by abusing laxatives will cause the organ’s muscle wall to thin and become limp. If left untreated in the case of a chronic addictive disorder, gastrointestinal function will most likely weaken and slow permanently.
Even when healthy food and fluid intake is resumed in recovery, the bodywill not be able to restore itselfafter a long-term condition makes its mark. Due to these severe consequences to the digestive system, many people are plagued with constipation for most of their lives. Even worse, the previous abuse of medication will make this form of constipation immune to a laxative’s intended, medicinal use.
Without hormones, bone and body structure fall short
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s reference guide details that when people struggling with eating disorders reach a low enough weight, their body’s production of sex hormones will drop significantly.According to the center’s in-depth report, “Only achieving regular menstruation as soon as possible can protect against permanent bone density loss. The longer the eating disorder persists the more likely the bone density loss will be permanent.”
Specific hormones like estrogen arealso responsible for fortifying bone strength and density, long-term deficiencies due to an eating disorder can additionally result in a brittle skeletal system with a diminished ability to repair itself for the rest of one’s life.
In adolescence, experiencing puberty and its related bodily developments cannot take place without these sex hormones. Children and adolescents with a serious eating disorder may miss out on the opportunity for their bones to grow and result in a lifelong underdeveloped stature.
Starvation damages your mind and breaks your heart
The University of Maryland also has access to extensive brain imaging data.These scans tell a descriptive story about the toll of disordered eating, particularly howthe brain’s structure and chemistry changes duringa malnourished, anorexic state. Although a return to normalized weight gain can resolve these issues, the medical center’s experts explain that some neurological outcomes may be irreversible.
The Harris County Psychiatric Center at the University of Texas states that people diagnosed with anorexiawill most likely causeeverlastingdamage to theircardiovascular systemas well. Due to inadequate nutrition, the body attempts to conserve as much energy as possible by reducing important functions like one’s heart beat and blood flow. These symptoms can result in the most permanent consequence of eating disorders: death.
A reliable way to prevent these permanent ailments from becoming a reality is to get professional treatment as soon as possible. Sovereign Health of California’s new eating disorder program is now accepting patients and focuses on the positive aspects of one’s body and behaviors. Contact one of our representatives online or through our 24/7 helpline to get the support you need immediately.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer