Binge eating is a condition that can have serious effects on those who suffer from it. In Romania, there are no specialized centers for people suffering from eating disorders.
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Eating disorder is a mental illness and as such, treatment should be provided by psychiatrists or psychotherapists specializing in this field. In Romania, there is no specialized clinic for treating those suffering from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating or other eating behavior disorders. Most typically receive treatment for weight loss, depression, or anxiety, rarely being treated for eating disorders.
Doctors draw attention to the fact that in recent years the minimum age of patients fighting these real diseases has also decreased.
“If a few years ago the minimum age of patients with eating disorders was that of teenagers, now there are more and more pre-teens who come with certain food phobias: they don't eat, they are afraid of drowning, for example. I notice nervous eating even among children”, emphasizes the psychologist from Iași Andreea Buhuși.
The relationship with food
According to her, eating disorders are serious mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, body shapes and weights. Worldwide, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health conditions. The Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders (APTTA) estimated that over 400,000 people in Romania suffer from such a disorder.
“The person suffering from anorexia sees their body much larger than it really is. I've met people who became anorexic because the only way they could feel joy was to see that they were accomplishing a goal: losing weight. So behind these disorders there is a lot of emotional suffering. No one goes hungry for too much of a good thing”, explains Andreea Buhuși, psychologist.
Although the causes of eating disorders are not known for sure, it is most often a combination of biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors.
“There is also a genetic predisposition, there is also social pressure, low self-esteem, bullying at school, stress, the desire to attract attention or dissatisfaction and a very low quality of life. The relationship with food is established in the family“, adds the psychologist Andreea Buhuși from Iași.
The Romanian system for combating eating disorders is non-existent, and many people with eating disorders do not know where to turn for help. Campaigns designed and organized by the Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders (APTTA) can be a real breath of fresh air. According to the official presentation, APTTA is a professional-scientific and support association, apolitical, non-profit, with the aim of improving prevention, early detection and treatment of eating disorders.
Specifically, APTTA provides free help and support to people experiencing eating disorders through group and individual psychotherapy, support group meetings, and a virtual support forum. All through the voluntary work of specialists and those willing to get involved.
“It disgusts me to see how superficially eating disorders are treated and how those who suffer from them are judged. When I think that when my mother sought to talk to doctors, to help me, she only came across people interested in their patient numbers, and they didn't care for a second that this was a being who was destroying her life. You (n. ed. APTTA members) were more interested in me than were the four psychologists I went to in the past or that nutritionist who, after the suicide attempt due to bulimia, put me on a diet to lose weight and said i'm fat”, is one of the testimonials on the APTTA support forum.
All details can be found on the association's website www.anorexie-bulimie.ro