Hi friends! Today’s post is a rather serious. As you can tell from the title “Eating Disorders, Defined,” I want to chat about eating disorders. I am going to follow this post up with a post about why we need to stop normalizing disordered eating behaviors, but I thought this was a good intro post to lay out the definitions of eating disorders to refer back to.
I hope you learn a little bit more about what eating disorders are, and why they are serious. I remember one of my favorite child/adolescent mental health professors in undergrad always telling us to strive to “understand, rather than judge,” and I hope this post encourages you to do the same.
Whether you are struggling silently, out loud, or just reading for general information, know that there is hope.
Read on for for more!
Disclaimer: As always, this is general information. Please never replace individualized clinical care with generalized health information you read online. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, please see the National Eating Disorders Association website or text ‘NEDA’ to 741741 for 24/7 crisis support.
Eating Disorders, Defined:
First let’s get something really clear: eating disorders are serious, often debilitating and potentially deadly psychological illnesses; they are not ‘phases’ or something someone can just ‘snap out of.’ And something I cannot stress enough: they are rarely about vanity. For those of you who like to get technical, I’ve thought I’d provide some current definitions below.
Eating disorders come in many shapes and sizes. Eating disorders are serious and sometimes deadly mental illnesses in which the individual is functionally impaired due to severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and food-related thoughts.
Often times, eating disorders are characterized by an immense preoccupation with food and the body, and the preoccupation often impacts to emotional well-being of the individual.
What causes eating disorders?
There is no one single cause of eating disorders. Likely, eating disorders emerge as a complex result of genetic, social, environmental, and/or psychosocial variables that lead to an individual to have a preoccupation with food and body.
What are important things to know about eating disorders?
As mentioned above, eating disorders are serious, debilitating diseases, and can be life-threatening.
Eating disorders have a higher death rate compared to any other mental illnesses; every 62 minutes someone dies from a direct result of an eating disorder.
At least 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder (according to ANAD). There are likely more who have not been diagnosed.
Eating disorders are found most commonly in adolescents and young adults but may present at other ages. Both males and females are impacted by eating disorders.
Eating disorders are not diseases of vanity. They can severely and significantly impair an individuals social, functional, and occupational and emotional well-being.
Weight loss may be a sign or symptom of some eating disorders, but individuals of different weights may have eating disorders.
Those with eating disorders often take immense measures to hide their disorder and may become socially isolated.
Early detection is crucial. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, seek help. Treatment is available, and there is always hope.…