Conditions InDepth: Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating. They also occur with feelings of distress or excessive concern about body shape or weight. The main types of eating disorders are
binge eating disorder
Eating disorders often develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but may also start during childhood or later in adulthood. Females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder.
Eating disorders frequently occur with other psychiatric conditions, such as
. In addition, people with eating disorders can experience a range of physical health complications. While some of these are minor, others can cause serious heart conditions,
, and even death.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which you are obsessed with dieting and exercise, which leads to excessive weight loss. You are generally considered anorexic when you do not maintain your body weight at or above 85% of your expected weight.
If you have bulimia nervosa, you feel overly concerned with your weight and body image. Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which you compulsively eat large amounts of food. This is called binging. Then, you use unhealthy means, such as vomiting, laxatives, or water pills, to rid your body of the food. You may also diet or engage in extreme amounts of exercise to use up calories taken in through binging.
About eating disorders. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders website. Available at:
http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated February 20, 2013. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Bulimia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 28, 2013. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Eating disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml. Updated 2011. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Yager J, Devlin MJ, et al.
Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders.
3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2006. Available at:
http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=9318. Accessed July 11, 2013.