Diet or Eating Disorder?

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The pressure to be thin is everywhere – advertising, TV, magazines, social media.  Eating disorders are two times more prevalent among girls than boys and often appear in the late teen years or early twenties.  Many people that have an eating disorder have a distorted image of their body and may have feelings of guilt and shame. Many also work hard to keep their disorder a secret.  Here are three recognized types of eating disorders:

  1. Anorexia nervosa – low body weight, excessive exercise, severe food restriction and/or fear of gaining weight
  2. Bulimia nervosa – self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics
  3. Binge eating disorder (BED) – episodes of binge eating, without severe periods of restriction or purging

An eating disorder can be life-threatening.  Some of the health issues that accompany an eating disorder are:  lack of energy, hair loss, dental disease, acid reflux, dehydration and laxative abuse.  Depression, anxiety and substance abuse often occur in individuals with eating disorders.

Psychotherapy is essential in overcoming this disorder.  Medical care is often needed, along with nutritional counseling and anti-depressants may help with accompanying depression.