Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions. They involve serious problems about how you think about food and eating behavior. You can eat much less or much more than you need.
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are medical conditions. They are not a lifestyle. They affect the body’s ability to obtain proper nutrition. This can lead to health problems like heart and kidney disease, or even death. However, there are treatments that can help.
What are the types of eating disorders?
Common types of eating disorders include:
- Binge eating: That is, eating without control. People with binge eating disorder continue to eat even after they are full. They often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. They generally have feelings of guilt, shame, and anguish afterward. Binge eating too often can lead to weight gain and obesity. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States
- Bulimia nervosa: People with bulimia nervosa also have periods of bingeing. But then they purge themselves by causing vomiting or using laxatives. They can also exercise excessively or they can fast. People with bulimia nervosa may be underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
- Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small amounts of just a few foods. They can see themselves overweight, even when they are dangerously thin. Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three eating disorders, but it is often the most serious. Has the highest death rate of any mental disorder
What Causes Eating Disorders?
The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Researchers believe that these conditions are caused by a complex interplay of factors, including genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social.
Who is at risk for eating disorders?
Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but they are more common in women. These disorders often appear during adolescence or adulthood, but they can also develop during childhood or later in life.
What are the symptoms of eating disorders?
The symptoms of eating disorders vary, depending on the disorder.
Anorexia nervosa can be fatal. Some people with this disorder die of complications from starvation, and others die by suicide.Some people with eating disorders may also have other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, or problems with drug use.
Because eating disorders can be very serious, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one thinks you might have this problem.Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to the needs of each person. You likely have a team of providers to help you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists.