What’s an ED?
What are Eating Disorders?
An eating disorder is marked by extremes. A person (female or male) with an eating disorder experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of calorie intake, purging behaviors, extreme overeating, and/or extreme distress about body weight and shape.
Eating disorders are real, serious, complex illnesses that cause severe harm, and can be deadly. Fortunately, they are treatable. Like schizophrenia or diabetes, eating disorders are not a “choice,” “fad,” or “phase.” A person can have more than one eating disorder at the same time. These disorders are also more prevalent than many people realize.
Recovery is possible. There is help. There is hope.
Eating disorders affect a person physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and psychologically; including:
- Dramatic weight gain or loss
- Verbal preoccupation with food, weight, and shape
- Rapid or persistent decline or increase in food intake
- Excessive or compulsive exercise patterns
- Purging; restricting; binge eating; compulsive eating; abuse of diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or emetics
- Denial of food and eating problems, despite the concerns of others
- Eating in secret, hiding food, disrupting meals, feeling out of control with food
- Medical complications, such as menstrual irregularity, dizziness, fainting, bruising, dry skin, leg cramps, hair loss, brittle hair, osteoporosis, diarrhea, constipation, dental problems, morbid obesity, diabetes, chest pain, heart disease, heartburn, shortness of breath, organ failure, and other symptoms
The American Psychiatric Association recognizes three kinds of eating disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), including Binge Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating