Eating disorders are often overlooked when considering the health and well-being of a person with a disability. However, this is a serious issue that should be considered when providing care to someone with a disability. Understanding what an eating disorder is and what causes them can help you provide the best care for your loved one.
What is a Eating Disorder?
There are several types of eating disorders. Most people only think of anorexia or binge eating when it comes to types of eating disorders. While these are the most common, there are other types of eating disorders that should be considered.
Some people may find that they get full very quickly and, therefore, cannot consume enough calories to remain healthy. Others may have a problem stopping when they begin eating, even if they are physically full, which can cause serious health issues.
Other eating disorders that must be considered are those that concern digestion. Some people may stop eating because they are having trouble digesting certain types of foods or are suffering from food allergies. Sadly, their disability may prevent them from discovering that it is a digestion issue that is causing them to feel pain and be uncomfortable after they eat, so they simply stop eating.
Causes of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can be caused by several reasons. For people with disabilities, one of the most common reasons for an eating disorder to occur is due to a sense of control. A person who is managing a disability often feels a loss of control over their body. Restricting what they eat or binge eating can give them a sense of control. Anorexia can be a severe problem for people with disabilities.
Some people with spectrum disabilities may also find it hard to eat certain foods due to the , texture, or the way they are prepared, such as being served hot or cold. It is essential that care providers understand these aversions and make sure that enough nutrition is being provided to their loved one.
A final cause for eating disorders is reactions to food. If someone is gluten intolerant or dairy intolerant and do not realize it, they can quickly build an aversion to food because it makes them feel sickly. Digestion issues must be considered as a possibility for a food aversion.
How You Can Help
If you believe that your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, it is vital to seek medical help. Your medical care provider can help establish if an eating disorder exists and if it is emotionally or physically based. Once you can figure out what is causing the problem, you will be able to treat the problem.