Eating Disorders

picture of woman with an eating disorder looking at food

Help for Eating Disorders

Most people can find something they don’t like about their body, and many take steps to eat more healthfully or start an exercise plan to improve their appearance.

Those with eating disorders develop habits that can cause a great deal of harm. They may fast or severely restrict their calories, exercise for hours on end each day, or take other actions to prevent any weight gain. Even though they are often underweight, they have an intense fear of becoming fat.

Usually appearing during adolescence or young adulthood, eating disorders can also develop during childhood or later in adulthood.

They are much more common among women and girls, but men and boys account for about 5 to 15 percent of those with anorexia or bulimia and about 35 percent of those with binge eating disorder.

Eating disorders commonly co-occur with anxiety disorders. For those who have an anxiety disorder, a co-occurring eating disorder may make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both disorders.

An eating disorder is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape. A person with an eating disorder may diet, exercise, or eats excessively, which can have life-threatening or even fatal consequences.