While most commonly associated with either teenage girls, supermodels and Hollywood stars the reality is that eating disorders affect people of all genders, races and economic levels. The Canadian Disability Tax Credit program has long recognized the severe damage these diseases can cause and therefore includes them on the list of qualifying disabilities which may be eligible for more than $30,000 in benefits per claim. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with an eating disorder, it is vitally important that you seek professional help immediately. Left untreated, these disorders can spin out of control rather quickly and eventually lead not only to permanent mental or physical damage, but even death.
What is an Eating Disorder?
Superficially similar to a classic addiction, eating disorders are most commonly defined as continued abnormal eating habits involving excessive or insufficient quantities of food with no regard to the negative physical or mental effects caused by such habits. While the most commonly known eating disorders tend to be those which involve eating too little such as anorexia and bulimia, the current obesity epidemic in Canada is a warning that many more people may be suffering in the opposite direction.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders
The most basic symptom which defines an eating disorder and applies to the full spectrum of these disorders is an eating habit which falls outside the range which would be considered nutritionally healthy. While nearly all of us have unhealthy eating habits to some degree, we are able to keep them in check to avoid the serious complications which come along with giving into those habits long term. For a person suffering from an eating disorder however, these habits become a compulsion which they are helpless to escape from.
The specifics of these unhealthy eating disorders vary from one to the next and even from case to case, but all are chiefly characterized by the fact that they continue with no regard to the detrimental health effects they inevitably cause. Some of the most common and widely recognized eating disorders include:
- Anorexia Nervosa – The “classical” eating disorder which most people immediately picture when they hear the term. Characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of weight gain and body image issues which have no basis in reality, anorexia is a very serious disorder. The lack of proper nutrition places a large amount of stress on the heart, commonly causes menstruation to stop and can lead to bone loss, organ failure and even death.
- Bulimia Nervosa – Commonly known as “binging and purging” in some areas, this disorder is characterized by a recurrent cycle of overeating followed by behaviors designed to counteract the binge. These compensatory actions most frequently involve self-induced vomiting or the overuse of laxatives, but may also take the form of over-exercising, fasting or the use of diuretics.
- Binge Eating Disorder – People qualifying for Canadian Disability Benefits with an eating disorder are not always suffering from insufficient food intake. In the case of binge eating disorder, the disability instead stems from an uncontrollable compulsion to overeat without the compensatory behaviors found in bulimia nervosa. The long term negative effects of this disorder are the same as would be found with obesity in general including a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even certain cancers.
- Pica – While research on pica is lacking due to its hard to define nature, some studies suggest that it may be the most common eating disorder on the planet. In contrast to other eating disorders, pica has less to do with compulsive habits regarding the over or under eating of food but rather the compulsive habit of ingesting non-nutritional and even non-food items. While the repetitive ingestion of items such as ice, mucus, dirt, chalk or even glass among other items.
While these four items represent a broad range of disorders, there are countless other ‘non-specific’ eating disorders which fail to meet the criteria specific to a recognized diagnosis, but can be severely disabling nonetheless. Eating disorders are a serious mental disorder and need to be treated as such; applying for the Canadian Disability Tax Credit is a fantastic first step on your road to a healthy future.
How Canadian Disability Benefits Helps
Unless you are an experienced tax or finance professional the process of applying for Canadian Disability Benefits can be a dreadful experience. Canadian Disability Benefits provides you with more than three decades of tax and finance experience to make the process as simple as possible for you and to make sure you quickly receive the maximum benefit for which you’re eligible.