Tag Archives: bulimia

Fast Facts About Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are prevalent in America. They are very serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. It is so important to be able to recognize the signs of eating disorders so you can help someone who may be struggling with one, or recognize early signs in yourself to help prevent full onset. Let’s take a look at some of the facts:

  • Eating disorders are often a result of a severely impaired self image (body dysmorphia), as well as other influencing factors.
  • Those with anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight and fear they are much larger than they actually are.
  • People suffering from either bulimia or anorexia struggle with distorted body images and very low self esteem.
  • The three main eating disorders are: Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder. There are other subtypes such as anorexia athletica as well.
  • Eating disorders are not simply a matter of choice. They are medical conditions that can be deadly.
  • Nearly 24 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder, many of whom deal with comorbid depression or anxiety as well.
  • Eating disorders are treatable but unfortunately, only 10% of those with eating disorders will get treatment for their condition.
  • Anorexia is 12 times more likely to kill young women (aged 15-24) than any other cause of death.
  • Eating disorder sufferers often will go to great lengths to hide their disorder from others, which can make it difficult to spot or treat.
  • Women suffering from anorexia nervosa often experience dysmenorrhea (absence of periods) from malnutrition.
  • Anorexia can cause serious problems to nearly every system in the body, eventually leading to organ damage or failure if left untreated.
  • People suffering from anorexia nervosa typically have body weights of under 85% of the range considered healthy for their height.
  • Bulimia sufferers may ingest large amounts of food (often in private), followed by purging via laxatives or vomiting. Often this cycle involves a surplus of guilt about eating and weight.
  • There are two types of anorexia nervosa: restricting subtype (where the individual drastically restricts caloric intake), and the purging subtype (the person uses laxatives, exercise or vomiting to purge calories that have been consumed).
  • Individuals with binge eating disorders (BED) engage in episodes of high-caloric binge eating, but do not follow these episodes with purging like a bulimic person would.
  • Binge eating disorders are sometimes called compulsive overeating or food addiction.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder.
  • Causes of eating disorders may include a combination of genetics, chemical imbalances, low self esteem or body dysmorphic issues, traumatic lifestyle or family dysfunction.
  • Symptoms of anorexia include: the person thinking they are fat when they are in fact thin, drastically under-eating or counting calories, missing menstrual periods, hair loss, fuzzy “peach fuzz” hair over face, arms or back, fatigue, syncope (fainting), skin discoloration, frailty, weight loss, stomach issues (such as frequent trips to the washroom or constipation).
  • Symptoms of bulimia include: self esteem and body image issues, binge eating episodes, frequent washroom trips (especially directly after eating), poor control over binge eating, hidden wrappers and disappearing food, excessive use of laxatives, puffy cheeks, tooth problems, frequent weight fluctuations.
  • Eating disorders are highly treatable, but it is so important for people to seek medical help if they are suffering from or know someone suffering from an eating disorder.
  • Treatment includes a variety of steps including helping the person return to a normal weight, treating the underlying psychological issues such as self esteem, as well as to help the person overcome any obsessions, actions or thoughts that contributed to the eating disorder.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, talk to a doctor today or call The Academy for Eating Disorders (847-498-4274) or the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (847-831-3438). Thanks for visiting DocChat!