Up to an estimated 24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. Onset often begins in adolescence. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Eating disorders begin with a false perception of getting or being fat. Eating disorders are serious and can have life-threatening consequences for males and females. Learn more about the Silver Hill Hospital Eating Disorders Program.
There are several different eating disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa – Adults and teens with anorexia view themselves as overweight, even when they are visibly underweight. Often, the person becomes obsessed with food and weight. They may eat very small portions of select foods, restrict food and weigh themselves repeatedly. Some will binge-eat and then use extreme dieting, excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and/or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. Learn the warning signs.
- ARFID – Adults and teens with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, or ARFID, do have an eating disorder, but the reasons they avoid food are often due to mental blocks or physical hindrances. Due to the varying causes of ARFID, the symptoms can also present in different ways. However, most people with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder are lacking the nutrients their body needs to thrive, which can result in weight loss, or stunted growth in younger patients. Learn the warning signs.
- Binge Eating Disorder – a serious condition where adults or teens have a compulsion to consume large amounts of food. They feel unable to control their food intake and cannot stop eating. This type of excessive overeating becomes habitual. Many individuals want to stop and feel embarrassed about their condition but cannot self-regulate under the influence of the compulsion. Learn the warning signs
- Body Dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder – is a chronic mental illness that can affect adults and teens with eating disorders. The condition can also stand alone. The term can also be known as dysmorphophobia, the fear of possessing a deformity. Individuals obsessively dwell on minor or imagined flaws in their appearance. This perceived flaw may appear to be of such significant magnitude to affected individuals that they avoid being seen by others. Learn the warning signs.
- Bulimia Nervosa – Characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia, adults or teens with bulimia usually maintain a healthy or normal weight, while some are slightly overweight, but often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Learn the warning signs.
- Rumination Disorder or Rumination Syndrome – a condition that is a reflex in adults and teens. Affected individuals regularly and without any intention regurgitate undigested food from within the stomach. The food is rechewed and then either reswallowed or spit out. This condition can go undiagnosed and be confused with other eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa, gastroparesis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Learn the warning signs.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
- Silver Hill Blog
- 100 Questions and Answers About Anorexia Nervosa, Sari Sheppird
- Life Without ED: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too, Jenni Schaefer
- Binge No More: Your Guide to Overcoming Disordered Eating, Joyce Nash
- Next to Nothing: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager’s Experience with an Eating Disorder, Carrie Arnold
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