What are Eating Disorders?

It is thought that eating disorders only affect women. While women are largely affected, men can also have disordered eating. An estimated 25% of college students have an eating disorder. Anyone of any age, ethnicity, and gender can be affected by eating disorders. Eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa– Is an extreme restriction of food intake due to an intense fear of with weight gain. Patients with anorexia nervosa have an abnormally low body weight and exercise compulsively.
  • Bulimia Nervosa– Is a cycle of behaviors related to binging (episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food) and purging (self-induced vomiting- could also include use of laxatives).
  • Binge-Eating Disorder– Frequently consuming large amounts of food and feeling unable to stop eating causes this type of disorder. Some may feel like they lack food control and cannot resist urges.
  • Orthorexia– Is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Often orthorexia starts as an interest in healthy eating, but over time the interest is replaced by extreme eating restrictions.

All eating disorders are serious and can be potentially life threatening if left untreated. Treatment methods are available through clinics and are individualized to help target ones specific needs. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, seek help immediately. For more information call: 1-800-931-2237 or visit: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Written by Claudia Miriello, Peer Educator

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