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Eating Disorders And Suicidal Thoughts - Are They Related?

Written and reviewed by
M.Phil - Clinical Psychology, M.Sc - Neuropsychology
Psychologist, Zirakpur  •  14 years experience
Eating Disorders And Suicidal Thoughts - Are They Related?

Eating disorders can harm your physical and mental health. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are some of the most common eating disorders. They are typically caused by dissatisfaction with physical appearances. Feeling bad about how you look can often lead to depression. In many cases, this can also lead to suicidal thoughts. Here are a few reasons for this.

  1. Feeling of hopelessness: Eating disorders typically start out as ways to lose weight and look better. Most patients think that this will make them more popular amongst friends and colleagues. However, when they do not see themselves winning more friends because of their new figure, it can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness. This can make them feel unworthy of living and give rise to suicidal thoughts.
  2. Malnourishment: By not eating enough food, the body is deprived of essential nutrients. This can give rise to a number of health issues. Malnourishment also influences how the neurons in the brain function. It can hamper the person’s ability to think clearly and contribute to a distorted sense of reality. As a result, the person may be more easily influenced by negativity.
  3. Feeling of being a burden: The combination of helplessness, negativity and nutrient deficiency can make the person feel as though they were a burden on everyone else. The attention given to them by friends and family can further intensify such thoughts. In many cases, the person may end up having suicidal thoughts that if he were to give up his life, his friends and family would be better off without him.
  4. Unrealistic ideals: People with eating disorders typically have unrealistic ideals of the lifestyle and figure they would like to have. When they do not see these goals being achieved in the manner that they dreamt of, it can cause frustration. This can make the person feel worse about himself or herself.

Like any other disease or disorder, it is essential for people with eating disorders to get professional help overcoming their habits. Parents, friends and other members of the family should be supportive and be on the lookout for signs of suicidal thoughts. This includes talking about death, researching means of suicide, not being able to sleep or sleeping too much, isolating oneself from people around, losing interest in activities and hobbies etc. If the person does seem to be having suicidal thoughts, they should not be ignored but brought to the notice of a counsellor immediately.

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