Eating Disorder Questions and Answers· What is anorexia?
· What is bulimia?
· What is binge eating disorder?
· What is compulsive eating?
· What is obesity?
· Are there other types of eating disorders?
· What causes eating disorders?
· What are the medical complications of eating disorders?
· How can you tell if you have an eating disorder?
· How do you treat an eating disorder?
· How many people have eating disorders?
|1. What is anorexia?|
Anorexia nervosa is one of the most prevalent of all eating disorders and one of the most life threatening. A person suffering from anorexia refuses to maintain a healthy body weight. Anorexics have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat and strive for perfection. Due to the loss of fat and weight, girls and women may suffer repeated missed menstrual cycles. People suffering from anorexia are generally very restrictive in their eating habits.
|2. What is bulimia?|
A person who suffers from bulimia binges and purges. Bulimics will eat a large quantity of food in a short amount of time and then self-induce vomiting. They do this to punish themselves or because they feel overwhelmed, sometimes with feeling fat but sometimes out of frustration or anger. Binging and purging will occur at least twice a week for three months. People with bulimia don't usually lose as much weight as people with anorexia.
|3. Binge Eating Disorder|
A person who suffers from binge eating disorder periodically goes on a large binge (like with bulimia) but does not purge afterwards. They are typically at a normal weight or overweight. They often binge to hide their emotions, fill a void in their lives, or as self-punishment. To be diagnosed as binge eating, this behavior will need to occur at least twice a week for six months. Binge eating disorder is probably the most common eating disorder.
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|4. Compulsive Eating|
Compulsive overeaters use food to fill a void, hide from their emotions or cope with their problems. They tend to be overweight and use their physical appearance as a barrier. People who suffer from compulsive eating typically have very low self-esteem and feel shame about their weight. Unfortunately, they comfort themselves with food when they feel this shame, creating a cycle of emotional highs and lows.
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Obesity is currently defined as anyone who has a body mass index (BMI) that is 30 or greater and is considered a disease by many medical professionals who work with this population.
Some of the causes of obesity are glandular malfunctions, malnutrition, emotional tension, boredom, habit, and love of food. It has also been linked to food sensitivities or food allergies and may be the result of either binge eating disorder or compulsive eating.
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|6. Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified|
Many patients who do not meet strict diagnostic criteria for anorexia or bulimia may be diagnosed with EDNOS ("Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified"). EDNOS is poorly recognized by health professionals and insurers and can include an assortment of conditions including symptoms of anorexia but regular menstrual periods or body weight, binging less than twice a week or for a duration of less than 3 months, chewing and spitting out food, or an obsession with healthy eating (orthorexia). Far more individuals suffer from EDNOS than from bulimia and anorexia combined, and the health consequences are equally serious since they involve many of the same self-harming behaviors typical of other eating disorders.
|7. What causes eating disorders?|
There is rarely a simple explanation for an eating disorder. It is an extremely complex problem and may be caused by a number of factors which may include family and cultural pressures, chronic stress and heredity. At some point in that person's life there is an event or a series of occurrences and situations which symbolizes one or more of the following scenarios:
|8. What are the medical complications of eating disorders?|
Eating disorders have seriourefs long-term health consequences, some of which are life-threatening. The more severe or long lasting the eating disorder, the more likely you are to experience serious medical complications.
|9. How do you tell if you have an eating disorder?|
If you're concerned that you, a friend or a family member might be suffering from anorexia or bulimia nervosa, please consult this list of warning signs and symptoms.
To find out if you should seek further evaluation from a doctor, take our online Eating Disorder Quiz and get instant access to your eating disorder profile, with recommendations for additional reading and follow-up.
|10. How do you treat an eating disorder?|
Eating disorder treatment centers provide four basic levels of care: inpatient, residential, day treatment and outpatient. Finding an eating disorder treatment center that suits your needs is one of the most important decisions anyone will make! Before you decide, check out these questions to ask before you choose a treatment center.
Most eating disorder treatment programs include cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, along with nutrition education, individualized meal plans and family therapy. At Mirasol, these well-established therapies are combined with proven alternative and experiential therapies including neurofeedback, adventure therapy, energy psychology and Oriental medicine.
|11. How many people have eating disorders?|
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates that 8 million Americans (seven million women and one million men) have an eating disorder. Eating disorder statistics provided by the National Eating Disorder Association are even higher, and indicate that 10 million American women suffer from eating disorders.