Eating disorders are serious and complex problems.
We need to be careful to avoid thinking of them in simplistic
terms, like "anorexia is just a plea for attention,"
or "bulimia is just an addiction to food." Eating disorders
arise from a variety of physical, emotional, social, and familial
issues, all of which need to be addressed for effective prevention
Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent eating disorder,
we need a systematic attempt to change the circumstances that
promote, initiate, sustain, or intensify problems like eating
Firstly, it is to prevent the occurrence of eating
disorders before they begin and help promote healthy development.
Secondary prevention, or "targeted prevention", are
designed to promote the early identification of an eating disorder,
to recognize and treat an eating disorder before it spirals out
of control. The earlier an eating disorder is discovered and addressed,
the better the chance for recovery.
Eating disorders are not just a "woman`s problem"
or "something for the girls." Males who are preoccupied
with shape and weight can also develop eating disorders as well
as dangerous shape control practices like steroid use. In addition,
males play an important role in prevention. The objectification
and other forms of mistreatment of women by others contribute
directly to two underlying features of an eating disorder: obsession
with appearance and shame about one’s body.
Prevention efforts will fail, or worse, inadvertently encourage
disordered eating, if they concentrate solely on warning the public
about the signs, symptoms, and dangers of eating disorders. Effective
prevention programs must also address:
· Our cultural obsession with slenderness
as a physical, psychological, and moral issue.
· The roles of men and women in our society.
· The development of people`s self-esteem
and self-respect in a variety of areas (school, work, community
service, hobbies) that transcend physical appearance.
Whenever possible, prevention programs for schools,
community organizations, etc., should be coordinated with opportunities
for participants to speak confidentially with a trained professional
with expertise in the field of eating disorders, and, when appropriate,
receive referrals to sources of competent, specialized care.
To treat all the different types of eating disorder, both physical
and mental health care is important in the long term treatment
of these medical conditions.
· For Anorexia nervosa
The first goal for the treatment of anorexia is to ensure the
person's physical health, which involves restoring a healthy weight.
Reaching this goal may require hospitalization.
Once a person's physical condition is stable, treatment
usually involves individual psychotherapy and family therapy during
which parents help their child learn to eat again and maintain
healthy eating habits on his or her own. Behavioral therapy also
has been effective for helping a person return to healthy eating
habits. Supportive group therapy may follow, and self-help groups
within communities may provide ongoing support.
· For Bulimia nervosa
Unless malnutrition is severe, any substance abuse problems that
may be present at the time the eating disorder is diagnosed are
usually treated first. The next goal of treatment is to reduce
or eliminate the person's binge eating and purging behaviour.
Behavioral therapy has proven effective in achieving
this goal. Psychotherapy has proven effective in helping to prevent
the eating disorder from recurring and in addressing issues that
led to the disorder. Studies have also found that Prozac, an antidepressant,
may help people who do not respond to psychotherapy (APA, 2002).
As with anorexia, family therapy is also recommended.
· For Binge-eating disorder
The goals and strategies for treating binge-eating disorder are
similar to those for bulimia. Binge-eating disorder was recognized
only recently as an eating disorder, and research is under way
to study the effectiveness of different interventions.