What is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is a serious mental health illness, characterized by eating, body weight or shape, or exercise becoming an unhealthy absorption of someone’s life. They include bulimia nervosa (where people binge and then self-induce vomit to undo those effects), anorexia nervosa (where people eat very little and have a low body weight), and binge eating disorder (where people eat large amounts in short periods of time).
Eating disorders appear frequently during childhood, teen years, or young adulthood. This disorder affects both genders, but the rates are higher in women than in men. Researchers found that eating disorders can be caused by complex interactions of behavioral, psychological, genetic, social, and biological factors. One study involves human genes to see if it runs in families. They are working to find DNA variations linking to the increased risks of developing eating disorders. Brain imaging studies are also showing brain activity in women with eating disorders versus healthy women. This research is guiding the development of new means of treatment for eating disorders. It is important that anyone that thinks they may have an eating disorder see a medical professional.
Eating Disorder Resources
Eating Disorder Hope (https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/about) promotes ending eating disordered behavior, embracing life and pursuing recovery. Our mission is to foster appreciation of one’s uniqueness and value in the world, unrelated to appearance, achievement or applause.
National Eating Disorders Association (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/about-us/our-work) supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.
National Institute of Mental Health (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/about-us/our-work) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH institutes and Centers make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS).
The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness (https://www.allianceforeatingdisorders.com/portal/organizations-and-websites) a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs and activities aimed at outreach, education, and early intervention for all eating disorders. Founded in October 2000, The Alliance has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, eliminate secrecy and stigma, promote access to care and support for those susceptible to, currently struggling with, and recovered from eating disorders. The Alliance creates a bridge for those needing and seeking help by connecting people with resources and information to assist them in their recovery.