There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. However, eating disorders are serious and can be fatal. In the United States alone, over 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.
There are different types of eating disorders, some are; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating, body dysmorphic disorder, pica, rumination disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, purging disorder, and night eating syndrome.
- Anorexia Nervosa: not getting enough calories in, which leads to significantly low body weight. Those with anorexia will show an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder: characterized as an obsession with an imaginary defect in physical appearance or an extreme concern with a slight physical blemish, which other individuals may not even recognize.
- Bulimia Nervosa: recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating includes eating an amount of food that is larger than what most people would eat within a two-hour time period, with a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.
- Binge Eating Disorder: eating much more rapidly than normal, eating until feeling uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry, eating alone because of embarrassment over how much one is eating and feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterwards.
- Pica: eating substances that have no nutritional value for a period of at least one month.
- Rumination Disorder: repeated regurgitation of food for at least one month, which includes re-chewing, re-swallowing or spitting out food.
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: an eating or feeding disturbance where a person is unable to meet their nutritional or energy needs.
- Purging Disorder: when an individual purges without bingeing.
- Night Eating Syndrome: when an individual consumes at least 25% of their daily intake after the evening meal.
Because of stigma and old stereotypes, many people don’t get the support they deserve while fighting an eating disorder. Join the conversation and help raise awareness, bust myths, get people screened, and start journeys to healing.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is Februiary 25 through March 3 of 2019. To find events, collaborate, or to learn more, please visit NEDA.