Eating Disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are one of the unspoken secrets that affect many families. Millions of Americans are afflicted with this disorder every year, and most of them — up to 90 percent — are adolescent and young women. Rarely talked about, an eating disorder can affect up to 5 percent of the population of teenage girls.

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Why are teenage and young adult women so susceptible to getting an eating disorder? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is because during this period of time, women are more likely to diet — or try extreme dieting — to try to stay thin. Certain sports (such as gymnastics) and careers (such as modeling) are especially prone to reinforcing the need to keep a fit figure, even if it means purging food or not eating at all.

There are three main types of eating disorders:

Anorexia (also known as anorexia nervosa) is the name for simply starving yourself because you are convinced you are overweight. If you are at least 15 percent under your normal body weight and you are losing weight through not eating, you may be suffering from this disorder.

Bulimia (also known as bulimia nervosa) is characterized by excessive eating, and then ridding yourself of the food by vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, taking enemas, or exercising obsessively. This behavior of ridding yourself of the calories from consumed food is often called “purging.”

A person who suffers from this disorder can have it go undetected for years, because the person’s body weight will often remain normal. “Binging” and “purging” behavior is often done in secret and with a great deal of shame attached to the behavior. It is also the more common eating disorder.

Eating disorders are serious problems and need to be diagnosed and treated like any medical disease. If they continue to go untreated, these behaviors can result in future severe medical complications that can be life-threatening.

Treatment of eating disorders nearly always includes cognitive-behavioral or group psychotherapy. Medications may also be appropriate and have been found to be effective in the treatment of these disorders, when combined with psychotherapy.

If you believe you may be suffering from an eating disorder or know someone who is, please get help. Once properly diagnosed by a mental health professional, such disorders are readily treatable and often cured within a few months’ time.

A person with an eating disorder should not be blamed for having it! The disorders are caused by a complex interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors which bring about the harmful behaviors. The important thing is to stop as soon as you recognize these behaviors in yourself, or to get help to begin the road to recovery.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

How is an eating disorder diagnosed by a therapist or doctor?
Anorexia Symptoms
Bulimia Symptoms
Binge Eating Symptoms
Overeating vs. Binge Eating

Eating Disorder Treatment

Treatment of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are treatable, although finding the right treatment that works for you can sometimes take time.
Treatment of Anorexia
Treatment of Bulimia
Treatment of Binge Eating
Treatment of Eating Disorders
Managing Binge Eating, from CBT to Apps
Effective, Inexpensive Treatment for Binge Eating

Getting Help with an Eating Disorder

Getting Help for an Eating Disorder

Help and treatment for an eating disorder is just a click away. But you have to make the choice to do so — nobody can make it for you.
Our Online Support Group
Find a treatment provider now
Treatment Centers

Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder

Helping Someone With an Eating Disorder

Here are some ways to help someone with an eating disorder.
A Family Guide to Eating Disorders, Part 1
A Family Guide to Eating Disorders, Part 2
Parents Important in the Prevention, Awareness of Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders in People

Living with Binge Eating Disorder

While no two people experience an eating disorder in exactly the same way, it helps to know that you are not alone.
Weightless: A blog about body image
How I Conquered Binge Eating Disorder
Top 10 Eating Disorder Blogs

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder

A disorder where a person binge-eats, but does not purge.
An Introduction to Binge Eating
Binge Eating Symptoms
Treatment of Binge Eating
Living with Binge Eating Disorder
Complications of Binge Eating

Frequently Asked Questions about Eating Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you go to get answers for some of the most commonly asked questions about eating disorders?
Q&A with Eating Disorder Specialist Sari Fine Shepphird: Part 1Q & A with Eating Disorder Specialist Sari Fine Shepphird: Part 2
More Eating Disorder Articles…
Eating Disorder Resources around the net…
More Resources: Eating Disorders on The Mighty