What are eating disorders?

The eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, ed-nos and other variants, all feature serious disturbances in eating behavior and weight regulation. They are associated with a wide range of adverse psychological, physical, and social consequences. A person with an eating disorder may start out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, their urge to eat less or more gets out of control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape, or extreme efforts to manage weight or food intake characterizes an eating disorder.

We have good news. Eating disorders are treatable. Some people need psychological and/or medical treatment in hospital or a clinic for eating disorders. Eating disorders frequently coexist with other illnesses such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. Don't wait when you suspect that you have an eating disorder (or somebody you care about), because eating disorders can be life-threatening if a person does not receive treatment. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.

Eating disorders affect both genders, although rates among women and girls are greater than among men and boys (10% to 15%). Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood but also may develop during childhood or later in life.

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