What is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is any range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.
Bulimia Nervosa: Self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas after binge eating; using other methods to rid yourself of calories to prevent weight gain, such as, strict dieting or excessive exercise; preoccupation with weight and body shape; distorted self-image; the feeling of being out of control during a binge-eating episode; self-esteem overly related to body image; overall purging.
-Those struggling with bulimia nervosa usually appear to be average body weight
-Many struggling with bulimia nervosa know that their behaviors are unusual and dangerous to their health
Anorexia nervosa: The name comes from two Latin words that mean nervous inability to eat; having the physical need for food but no appetite; self-starvation; a slow form of suicide; unrealistic fear of weight gain; distorted perception of body weight; total aversion to food; when body image defines your entire sense of self worth.
- Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any other mental disorder.
-1/5 of those who suffer from Anorexia will die
Other Eating Disorders Include:
2/5 Individuals have either personally had an Eating Disorder, or know someone who has.
As many as 10% of college women suffer from an eating disorder and as many as 25% of college-aged women engage in binging and purging as a method of managing their weight.
13.5% of athletes have subclinical to clinical eating disorders.
Eating disorders are a daily struggle for 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States.
The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses, and over 12 times higher than that for people without eating disorders.
Many people who struggle with anorexia and/or bulimia also present psychiatric conditions like depression, and anxiety disorder, and the habits - restricting, binging, and purging – often develop as coping mechanisms. So, it isn't just an extreme attempt at weight loss; it's a legitimate, diagnosable (and therefore treatable) psychiatric disorder.
Common Myths about Eating Disorders:
Myth #1: Eating disorders are not serious; they are a lifestyle choice or about vanity.
Eating disorders are serious and potentially life threatening mental illnesses; they are not a lifestyle choice or a diet gone 'too far’.
Eating disorders result from multiple factors. While body image concerns play a role in the development of an eating disorder for some people the development of an eating disorder is not related to body dissatisfaction.
Myth #2: Eating disorders are a cry for attention or a person ‘going through a phase’
People with eating disorders are not seeking attention. In fact, due to the nature of an eating disorder a person may go to great lengths to hide, disguise or deny their behavior, or may not recognize that there is anything wrong.
There is an average of approximately 4 years between the start of disordered eating behaviors and first treatment.
Myth #3: Families, particularly parents, are to blame for eating disorders
There is in fact no evidence that particular parenting styles are a direct cause of eating disorders. There is, however, strong evidence that eating disorders have a genetic basis and people who have family members with an eating disorder may be at higher risk of developing an eating disorder themselves.
For more information visit: