1 in 4 people will experience mental illness.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are most common in men and women under the age of 30, but can occur in any age group or gender. Eating disorders are characterized by a serious disturbance in eating behavior (either eating too much or too little).

  • Anorexia Nervosa¬†
    Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders. This serious illness involves drastic weight loss due to fasting and may be accompanied by excessive exercise.
    • Symptoms:
      • Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height;
      • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight;
      • Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight;
      • Infrequent or absent menstrual periods (in females who have reached puberty);
      • Viewing self as overweight, even though dangerously thin;
      • Unusual eating habits, such as avoiding food and meals, picking out a few foods and eating these in small quantities, or carefully weighing and portioning food;
      • Repeatedly checking body weight, which is usually below normal.
  • Bulimia¬†
    This involves binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting and the abuse of laxatives.
    • Symptoms:
      • Episodes of binge eating, characterized by eating an excessive amount of food followed by self-induced vomiting;
      • Recurrent, inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications (purging); fasting; or excessive exercise;
      • Inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for at least three months;
      • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight;
      • May be normal body weight.
  • Binge Eating Disorder (compulsive eating)
    This is often overeating, often in secret and often carried out as a means of deriving comfort.
    • Symptoms:
      • Recurrent episodes of binge eating, characterized by eating an excessive amount of food and by a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode;
      • Binge-eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following: eating much more rapidly than normal; eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry; eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating; feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating;
      • Marked distress about the binge-eating behavior;
      • Binge eating occurs, on average, at least two days a week for six months;
      • Binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging, fasting, excessive exercise);
      • May be over normal body weight.

An eating disorder is a problematic coping strategy. People with eating disorders may feel shame about weight fluctuations, and low self-esteem may exacerbate the illness. Successful treatment involves initially stabilizing the nutritional status of the person with an eating disorder, followed by a variety of psychotherapies. Preventive interventions in high-risk populations are also showing positive results

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