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Eating Disorders





Eating Disorders

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What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are expressed as significant changes in an individual’s eating behavior, and can severely dangerous and oftentimes fatal.


-Anorexia Nervosa

Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa have the highest mortality rate out of all mental disorders due to the person’s deep obsession with with their weight. Because of restricted eating many individuals with anorexia die from starvation.

-Symptoms may include:

-Extremely restricted eating

-Extreme thinness (emaciation)

-A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight

-Intense fear of gaining weight

-Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight

-Over time, other symptoms may includes:

-Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)

-Mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness

-Brittle hair and nails

-Dry and yellowish skin

-Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)

-Severe constipation

-Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse

-Damage to the structure and function of the heart

-Brain damage

-Multiorgan failure

-Drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time

-Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time


-Bulimia Nervosa

A person with bulimia nervosa will have recurrent episodes of binge-eating, or eating large amounts of food, followed by vomiting, excessive exercise, or the use of laxatives. Binging and purging has both physical and emotional effects on an individual and may cause dehydration, acid reflux, low self-esteem, and isolation, heart failure, and may become fatal. Most people with bulimia nervosa maintain a normal weight, or are slightly overweight.

-Symptoms may include:

-Chronically inflamed and sore throat

-Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area

-Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid

-Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems

-Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse

-Severe dehydration from purging of fluids

-Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack

-Binge-eating Disorders (BED)

BED is characterized by a loss of control over eating and erratic eating behavior. Someone with BED may eat a large amount of food in a short amount of time, or eat even when not hungry. Like bulimia nervosa, people with BED are usually normal weight or slightly overweight.

-Symptoms may include:

-Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time

-Eating even when you're full or not hungry

-Eating fast during binge episodes

-Eating until you're uncomfortably full

-Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment

-Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating

-Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss


-Nutritional Counseling and Weight Monitoring

Where To Begin

Making an appointment with a mental health provider
Talking to your Doctor
Support Groups

All information taken from:

NIMH - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Depression (NIH Publication No. 15-3561). Bethesda, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office.