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Eating Disorders: About

Eating Disorders

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What's An Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating behaviors. You may eat much less or much more than you need. Eating disorders are medical conditions; they are not a lifestyle choice. They affect your body's ability to get proper nutrition. This can lead to health issues, such as heart and kidney problems, or sometimes even death. But there are treatments that can help. Common types of eating disorders include:

  • Binge-eating, which is out-of-control eating. People with binge-eating disorder keep eating even after they are full. They often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. Afterward, they usually have feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. Eating too much too often can lead to weight gain and obesity. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
  • Bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia nervosa also have periods of binge-eating. But afterwards, they purge, by making themselves throw up or using laxatives. They may also over-exercise or fast. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
  • Anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three eating disorders, but it is often the most serious. It has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Researchers believe that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of factors. These include genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but they are more common in women. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood. But people can also develop them during childhood or later in life. Continue reading from MedlinePlus

From the Collection

Link to Hunger : a memoir of (my) body by Roxane Gay in the catalog
Link to Lighter than my shadow by Katie Green in the catalog
Link to The Upside of Being Down : The Life of a Teen with Anorexia by Carolina Mejia Rodriguez in Freading
Link to The wisdom of your body by Hillary L. McBride in the catalog
Link to The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook by Carolyn Coker Ross in Hoopla
Link to Knockout by Mia Kang in the catalog
Link to Eating disorders by Suzanne Abraham in the catalog
Link to Help your teenager beat an eating disorder by James Lock, MD, PhD & Daniel Le Grange, PhD in the catalog

Link to the Health & Wellness Resource Guide Series Homepage