Eating disorders require interdisciplinary care, the association says

Reporting trails / TV Brazil

Psychiatrist José Carlos Apolinario explains that triggers for overeating are more present in the pandemic

The World Day for Action against Eating Disorders, celebrated today (02), this year focuses on the Caring for those who cares movement. The date was created in 2015 by the Academy for Eating Disorders, and its main purpose is to promote worldwide initiatives to raise awareness, raise awareness and inform the public about the problems associated with these disorders.

Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 70 million people are affected by some form of eating disorder, whether it be anorexia, bulimia, overeating disorder, among others. The coordinator of the Eating Disorders Commission of the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP), José Carlos Appolinário, said that eating disorders are different mental illnesses, “because the boundary between mental illness and clinical illness is sometimes very thin”.

For example, people with anorexia nervosa can reach very high levels of malnutrition, loss of protein, low blood pressure and potassium, they may even die from malnutrition. People with bulimia nervosa, with self-induced vomiting and the use of laxatives and diuretics, can cause fluid and electrolyte changes that can also lead to death. These changes occur when the levels of hydration and body electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, among others, are decompensated. “These are mental disorders with very important consequences for the individual’s physical health”.


According to the psychiatrist, ABP has called for the dissemination of this date and all campaign topics. As an association of psychiatrists and psychiatrists, the unit plays an important role in helping the population to gain greater knowledge about eating disorders. According to him, it can make people get an early diagnosis, because the earlier the treatment is started, the better the prognosis. “This awareness of the population in relation to eating disorders is an activity that ABP is developing, including publishing World Day and bringing information to society. “Parents and family members will receive great help in getting their children, relatives and people they know who have these problems to suspect the disease earlier,” he said.

Treatment of people with eating disorders should be interdisciplinary. It should be led by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nutritionist and a clinician. “These four professionals must work together. Several of these conditions will require specific knowledge,” the specialist recalled, adding that anorexia nervosa is considered the disease with the highest mortality rate in psychiatry.


ABP also implements training and development programs for the psychiatrists themselves, so that they are increasingly better trained in the treatment of the disease. In Brazil, the largest number of eating disorders include bulimia, anorexia nervosa and overeating. Taking all eating disorders into account, there is a prevalence in 3% to 4% of the population. José Carlos Appolinário, however, warned that there are cases that are not yet disorders in themselves, but which require monitoring and treatment.

“We call it partial syndromes. You still do not have a low weight, but a very limited eating behavior. He is in a very heavy weight loss. Or it still does not have a very high frequency, but it has already started to cause vomiting after forced episodes, that is, it does not have a complete diagnosis, but will already need follow-up ”. According to the doctor, if we add all this together, partial syndromes can be identified.

Faced with these complex diseases, which change the individual’s behavior and generally from a very young age – in general, late childhood or early adolescence – with the person still very attached to the parents, family members are disturbed by all the changes. said the coordinator of the ABP commission, also a professor at the Federal University of Rio.

family relationships

“This mainly disrupts a function of family relationships, which is food,” says Apolinário. The person with anorexia nervosa rejects food, does not sit with the family for meals. This affects the family relationship and causes congestion in relation to illness and treatment. Therefore, he suggests that the family participate in the treatment from the beginning of the changes. It also reinforces the importance of not only treating the sick but also providing support and assistance to family members, friends, partners, people who help take care of them with eating disorders.

Often, the person with this type of disorder does not accept that they have the disease and that they should seek treatment. Therefore, it is also necessary to take care of the relatives who need a lot of support and assistance. The role of the caregiver is extremely important in the recovery process for those affected by eating disorders. PBL emphasized that self-care is necessary to take care of the other.

The association suggested some simple strategies that can help relatives’ quality of life, such as sharing tasks, taking time for themselves, taking care of their own physical health, and building a support network so they can ask for help. According to ABP, eating disorders, when treated early and properly, have an important recovery rate.

processing agent

To mark the date, the Brazilian Association of Eating Disorders (Astral), which brings together more than 40 specialized groups from different regions of the country, is promoting a campaign with the theme Be a Transformation Agent !.

The campaign includes the publication of a series of videos and short newsletters for the unit’s social network, produced in collaboration with specialized health professionals.

Astral defends that the prevention of eating disorders is done by encouraging a healthy and adequate diet, free from the culture of diet and guilt, “an active lifestyle, without an exclusive focus on body weight, and encouraging the building of a body image “. positive”.

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