In This Article
In This Article
No other mental disorder has a higher mortality rate than eating disorders: every hour, at least one person dies due to some form of an eating disorder. This problem is also of huge magnitude: In the U.S. alone, over 30 million people are affected by these disorders. The conception that only young women are affected by such disorders is also wrong: males and females of all ages and races suffer from such disorders.
Such a disorder refers to conditions wherein people have disturbed eating behavior along with altered thought patterns. Such people are obsessed with their food, body weight and body shape. The definition of each eating disorder differs as per the symptoms.
Studies show that men are more likely to report overeating and women tend to endorse loss of control while eating. The possibility of them having depression along with the eating disorder is significantly more as well.
One of the common eating disorder facts is that the cases among boys often go unreported as the condition is commonly seen as something affecting girls.
As compared to men, women are more prone to report the following:
People who suffer from binge eating have frequent episodes during which they consume large quantities of food. Many people report that they have no or little control over their eating and are unable to stop eating despite having pain from severe overeating.
After such episodes, people with binge eating problems typically report being embarrassed and regretting how much they have eaten. 2.8% of American adults suffer from this disorder and almost 50 percent of people with binge eating diagnosis have also been diagnosed with a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression.
People with bulimia nervosa also eat large quantities of food in a short period of time but unlike people with binge eating disorder, people with such overeating disorders try to avoid gaining weight by forcing themselves to vomit or by taking large quantities of laxatives.
People with this diagnosis also commonly over exercise in an attempt to burn off the extra calories. Just like a person with binge eating disorder, a person with bulimia nervosa diagnosis typically reports feeling embarrassed and regrets both over-eating and making themselves vomit.
1.5% of American women suffer from this disorder and more than 50 percent of people with bulimia nervosa have also been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme food restriction. People with this diagnosis are terrified of gaining weight and typically see themselves as overweight even when they are dangerously underweight.
Types of anorexia
There are two different subtypes of anorexia nervosa. Those with restricting type eat very little and tend to over exercise and those with binge-eating/purging type may also consume very little food but periodically experience binge eating episodes.
Unlike someone with bulimia nervosa or binge eating diagnosis, a person with binge-eating/purging type anorexia nervosa is most likely underweight. 0.9% of American women suffer from anorexia in their lifetime.
According to the the United States National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, approximately 50% of people with anorexia nervosa diagnosis are also diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or social phobia which shows a close connection between anxiety and eating disorders.
33-55% of people with anorexia nervosa diagnosis have also been diagnosed with mood disorders such as depression.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
Avoidant/restrictive rood intake disorder (ARFID) is a condition where someone follows a highly restrictive diet and as a result does not get their daily nutrition and energy needs met from their diet.
People with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder typically report that they do not like certain smell, taste, smell, or texture of the food. They very seldom report trying to avoid gaining weight. Some people with this diagnosis report having an experience of choking or vomiting, that may have contributed to the beginning of this disorder.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is more common among children than adults and 3-5% of children are diagnosed with it. This disorder is more common among boys than girls.
A person with PICA consumes substances that are not food, such as mud, clay, soap, paper, chalk, or laundry starch. People with PUCA are not eating these substances to harm themselves but report instead that they like the texture or flavor of these items and may find eating them self-soothing.
This disorder is uncommon in the general population but is often seen in people with the diagnosis of autistic disorder. Pica is also more commonly found among people with iron deficiency. 27.8–68% of pregnant women report symptoms of PICA.
Pica is more common among children than adults. A child must be at least 2-year-old to get diagnosed with PICA and 18.5% of children get this diagnosis.
When it comes to severe food disorders, especially such disorders as anorexia nervosa that can be life threatening, inpatient treatment might be needed in the beginning. Regardless of whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is chosen, treatment goals typically include:
Thus, typically, the most effective treatments combine various ways such as psychotherapy, nutrition education, and medical treatment, including keeping patients on medication for eating disorders.
Psychological therapy or counseling in an integral part of eating disorder treatment. Commonly a combination of individual and group therapy is used to treat food disorders. Some commonly used therapies include:
Dialectic Behavioral Therapy is composed of both group and individual therapies and aims to teach a client skills that allow them to handle their emotions and everyday stressors in a productive way so that they no longer have to use unhealthy eating habits.
People with food disorders often develop a variety of dental and medical problems as a result of their disorder. For example, osteoporosis, and hypothermia are common among people that have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, whereas diabetes, and high blood pressure are frequent in people diagnosed with binge eating disorder.
Patients with bulimia tend to suffer from dehydration, bowel problems, and serious damages in their teeth. Therefore, a medical doctor and a dentist should be involved in a team of professionals treating the person.
Registered dietitians can help a person with such a disorder to develop a plan to achieve and maintain normal body weight and healthy eating habits. Such professionals can educate the client on such things as meal planning, or establishing regular eating patterns.
Many alternative therapies are often used in addition to psychotherapy, nutrition education, and medical treatment. These might include meditation, mindfulness, trauma sensitive yoga, tai chi, equine-assisted therapy, or art therapy. Many of these methods aim to teach the client better ways to handle stress.
If you are wondering how to get over an eating disorder or need help for a friend who is coping with such problems, it is a good idea to search online. You can try searching for “eating disorder therapist near me” or “eating disorder psychologist+your area name”.
Besides this, depending on the condition, a psychiatrist for medication prescription and management, a dietitian for meal planning, medical specialists to deal with physical health issues can also be contacted for total care. Do not hesitate to reach out to your partner and family members to deal with the problem.
Treatment costs for short-term stays for medical reasons associated with food disorders are covered under health benefits. The cost of treatment depends on the severity of the condition.