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Eating Disorders Guide


Did you know that up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder over the course of a lifetime?

The three most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED), according to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).

What is startling is that not only can these eating disorders cause many severe medical issues, they can also cause death if not treated properly.

Guide to Anorexia

Despite appearing very thin and emaciated, people who suffer from anorexia are obsessed with losing even more weight and starve themselves in order to do so. They deprive themselves of proper food and nutrients in the process. In addition to extreme dieting, those with anorexia also may exercise excessively to stay thin or may abuse or misuse laxatives, enemas or diuretic medications to get rid of any food they do eat.

Facts: An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women and about 1 percent of adolescent girls suffer from anorexia. About 20 percent of anorexics will die early due to complications from the disease such as heart problems or even suicide.

Guide to Bulimia

Bulimia is characterized by frequent, recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food (also called binge eating) followed by undergoing various means of getting rid of the food. These means may include vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, exercising or fasting. Unlike those with anorexia, people with bulimia usually are not underweight but may actually be normal weight or even overweight.

Facts: It is estimated that 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women suffer from bulimia, and about 50 percent of people who suffer from anorexia also develop bulimia or patterns of bulimia.

Guide to Binge Eating

Sometimes called emotional eating, compulsive overeating or food addiction, binge eating occurs when sufferers eat too much food every once in a while. People who suffer from this eating disorder often eat large amounts of food alone, despite not being hungry. Unlike those with bulimia, binge eaters do not purge after eating and therefore are typically overweight or obese.

Fact: About 50 percent of Americans undergo binge eating over the course of a six-month period of time.

Source: National Eating Disorder Association