- What are eating disorders? Eating disorders are classified as a set of conditions that are characterized by abnormal eating patterns and habits that usually involve too much or not enough food. Often times eating disorders are associated with body image issues and these disorders can often last a lifetime without treatment.
- What are the different eating disorders? There are three main types of eating disorders they are anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. In some cases individuals that suffer from eating disorders can suffer from a combination of one or more.
- What is anorexia nervosa? Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by an obsession with being thin and a fear of becoming fat. The body image of someone with anorexia is often distorted and they will take in an insufficient amount of food in order to achieve their goals. Symptoms can include reduced food intake, ritualistic eating habits, denial of hunger, and excessive exercise.
- What is bulimia? Bulimia is an eating disorder that is characterized by a binge and purge cycle. Often times binges are done in secret and then the purging will take place after through the use of vomiting, laxative, excessive exercise or diuretic use. Bulimia is hard to detect because these individuals are often of a normal weight.
- Is over-eating an eating disorder? Yes, compulsive over-eating also called binge eating is considered an eating disorder and is characterized by eating overly sufficient amounts of food that are high calorie and often high in sugar and fat content.
- What are the medical problems that can result from eating disorders? There are many medical complications that are associated with eating disorders. Irregular periods in women, growth of facial hair in women, lowered immune system, brittle hair and nails, sleep problems and death are all possible medical problems that can occur.
- Are eating disorders preventable? Not all eating disorders are preventable but being a good role model is one way to encourage healthy eating patterns in children so they can grow up without eating disorders. Some studies have shown that parents that express dissatisfaction with their bodies can pass these characteristics onto their children.
- How many people suffer from eating disorders? In some sense the numbers are staggering. In girls aged 12-18 27% of girls have had symptoms significant enough to report as eating disorders. 31% of female college students have also had symptoms.
- What are the recovery rates for eating disorder? Treatment for eating disorders can be effective. 50% of individuals with bulimia or anorexia nervosa make a full recovery, while about 1/3 make a partial recovery and 20% do not make any improvements.
- What are signs of an eating disorder? There are many signs of eating disorders. Understanding these signs could help you or someone you love. These signs include skipping meals, not eating in front of others, no menstrual cycle, extreme weight loss, and going to the bathroom after meals.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please do not hesitate to get help.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.