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10 Facts About Eating Disorders Most People Don’t Know

There is quite a lot that people who do not have an eating disorder do not know about people who do have an eating disorder.  In order to know what you are looking for if you suspect someone of an eating disorder, there is some research that you should do.  Here are 10 facts about eating disorders that might help you or one of your loved ones better understand eating disorders and why they are so dangerous.

1. Eating Disorders are classified as a mental disorder.  This mental disorder is characterized by an unhealthy relationship with food to the point where it disrupts normal activities.  People with eating disorders struggle with body image and use the eating disorder to alter his or her appearance.

2. Eating disorders effect 10-15% of Americans every year.  Approximately 1000 of the people who suffer from an eating disorder will die from complications.  Some of the complications that can occur because of an eating disorder are liver damage, cardiac arrest, gastric distress, weakened immune system, dehydration, malnutrition, and seizures.

3. Anorexia and Bulimia are the two most common types of eating disorders.  Anorexia is characterized by not eating, extreme weight loss, a belief that one is fat even though that is not possible given the other two factors.  Bulimia is characterized by binge eating and then purging by vomiting, excessively exercising, or using laxatives to promote weight loss.

4. 10-15% of the people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia are males.  Statistics on the male population who suffer from eating disorders are largely underreported.  There is quite a lot of stigma surrounding men with eating disorders.  Eating disorders have long been considered a disorder that females suffer and many men do not report or get treatment for their eating disorders.

5. Eating disorders develop at a young age.  Usually, eating disorders develop during the teenage years.  They can develop as early as 12 though the average age for developing an eating disorder is age 17.  Most of the people who struggle with the eating disorder will struggle for a lifetime.

6. Eating disorder sufferers are likely to have low self-esteem.  While most of the people who have an eating disorder are well-liked and admired they are constantly striving for approval because they have low self-esteem.  This low self-esteem often comes from feeling that their bodies are inadequate.  They are also likely to practice negative self-talk or have other influences that reinforce the feeling of low self-esteem.

7. There are many treatments for eating disorders but there are some that are the gold standard.  Eating disorder patients can be difficult because they may need medical treatment in order to make them healthy enough to receive eating disorder treatment.  The most often used treatments for eating disorders are individual and group therapy, exercise training to help patients understand what healthy exercise means, and nutritional counseling.

8. Women with eating disorders are likely to have depression.  There is a very high occurrence of depression among women with eating disorders.  Antidepressants are often used in conjunction with the treatments mentioned above.  When used with therapy, they are very effective at helping a patients to curb an eating disorder.

9. There are a number of non-life threatening illnesses that can be a result of an eating disorder.  In addition to the life threatening illness mentioned above, people who suffer from eating disorders can develop low blood pressure, hair loss, lanugo, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers, tooth decay, gallbladder disease, electrolyte imbalances, slow heart rate, and muscle loss.  While these conditions are not normally life threatening, they can all be signs of something bigger and potentially more dangerous.

10. The media is effecting the body image of our culture.  While it is true that the celebrities of all different periods in history have been the benchmark for style, sophistication and emulation, it is also true that now the media is overwhelming the population.  These celebrities are more visible than they have ever been in the past.  With the far reaching arm of the internet, every celebrity can be viewed at any minute of any day.  69% of girls between 10 and 18 are driven to model their body images after photographs of celebrities.  This is not only dangerous because celebrities often have access to services not available to the general public, but because these photos are going to be altered.  They do not present the true version of what is really attainable.