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3 Common Eating Disorders

What is an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is the excessive and unhealthy preoccupation with food, maintaining and/or losing weight. Eating disorders are a bit tricky to understand because there’s no tall tell sign of who may develop an eating disorder and why. Eating disorders commonly stem from individuals who already have symptoms of an anxiety or compulsive disorder. Though eating disorders can affect an individual’s physical health, they are actually classified as mental health disorders. Individuals can utilize eating disorders as a coping strategy, much in the same way that an alcoholic uses alcohol as a way of masking or coping with their problems. Although eating disorders can be very scary and deadly there are eating disorder treatment options available.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa most commonly known, as anorexia is an eating disorder in which individuals refuse to keep a healthy weight for their height and body frame by not eating. Anorexics also have an intense fear of weight gain and even when they’re underweight they see themselves as being fat. Anorexia greatly stresses the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. The risk of death is greatly increased in individuals with this disease. The most underlining factor researchers are starting to take notice of is that it may not just be a vanity, social, or media issue, but it could also be related to biological and or genetic components.

Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms –

  • Refusal to maintain a body weight which is consistent with their build, age and height.

  • An overwhelming fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.

  • Poor self-image.

  • The belief that their body weight, shape and size is directly related to how good they feel about themselves and their worth as a human being.

  • At least three consecutive menstrual cycles must be missed, if the woman was menstruating previously before the onset of the disorder.

  • Bone loss and loss of skin integrity.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, often called bulimia, is an eating disorder (and mental disease) in which a person binges on large amounts of food then self-purges.

Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms

  • This disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, occurring at least twice a month for a minimum of three months, which consists of:

  • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances

  • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.

  • Behaviors to avoid gaining weight – i.e. self-induced vomiting; overusing laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; refusing to eat (fasting); or excessive exercise.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) or ‘compulsive overeating’, characterized by binge eating, without compensatory behavior. This type of eating disorder is even more common than bulimia or anorexia. This disorder does not have a category of people in which it can develop. In fact, this disorder can develop in a range of ages and is unbiased to classes.

Binge Eating Disorder Symptoms -

  • Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount of food.

  • Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten.

  • Eating much more rapidly than usual.

  • Eating until uncomfortably full.

  • Eating large amounts of food, even when not physically hungry.

  • Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten.

  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.

Eating Disorder Treatment

There is a large network of eating disorder treatment professionals for individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. If this is your first time looking for eating disorder treatment then you’ll want to make an appointment with your primary care doctor and consult him/her on your symptoms and behaviors. You can also:

  • Check with local hospitals or medical centers.

  • Ask your school counselor or nurse.

  • Call the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-931-2237 (Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST).

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs treatment please give us a call at 888-506-1573.