Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a mental health condition in which the person affected experiences significant disruptions in their eating behaviors as well as in their related thoughts and emotions. People who struggle with eating disorders often become preoccupied with food and their body weight. 

Additionally, eating disorders often occur together with other mental health issues like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Without treatment, eating disorders can cause a number of health-related problems including cardiovascular issues, gastrointestinal issues, and malnutrition. But with proper treatment, people affected by eating disorders can resume suitable eating habits and can improve their mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Could you have an eating disorder?

    Determining if you have an eating disorder begins with examining your thoughts and behaviors surrounding food, body image and body weight. Although there is an extensive list of warning signs, not everyone will display every symptom. If you suspect you have an eating disorder, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. The chance for recovery increases the sooner an eating disorder is addressed.

  • What causes eating disorders?

    Eating disorders are complex disorders that stem from a variety of factors including genetics, cultural ideals, environmental, psychological, and biological influences. These risk factors may also include mental health conditions like anxiety and depression along with body image issues.

  • How can you help someone with an eating disorder?

    To help a loved one with an eating disorder, be supportive of their recovery efforts without trying to fix, control, or counsel them. Instead, be patient and encouraging. Empower them to tackle their disordered eating and talk to a counselor or therapist.

  • Are eating disorders genetic?

    There is some evidence that eating disorders are heritable. In fact, in one study of twins, researchers discovered that 40% to 60% of the risk for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder arises from genetic influences. However, the development of an eating disorder is a complex process impacted by a variety of factors and not just about genetic influences.

Key Terms

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How Body Neutrality Can Help With Eating Disorder Recovery
Difference Between Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders
Weight-Related Stigma and Mental Health
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An Overview of Mental Health Statistics  
What Is Atypical Anorexia Nervosa?
What Can Be Done for ARFID Treatment?
What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Bulimia?
How Are Eating Disorders and PCOS Connected?
Eating Disorders and RED-S in Athletes
Why Do Some People Get Eating Disorders?
What Would It Be Like to Live for a Day With Anorexia?
Understanding the Binge-Purge Cycle in Bulimia
How to Get Help When You Have an Eating Disorder and Are Suicidal
When a Loved One With Anorexia Does Not Believe They Are Ill
Acute Massive Gastric Dilatation Is a Rare Consequence of Binge Eating
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Eating Disorders
It's Now Easier to Be Diagnosed With an Eating Disorder
Bulimia and Your Teeth
Eating Disorders and Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse
How Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders Are Connected
Is the Media to Blame for Causing Eating Disorders?
PTSD and Eating Disorders
9 Essential Facts About Eating Disorders
A Fictional Day in the Life of a Person With Bulimia
Eating Disorders Every Parent Should Know About
How Overeating Can Become Problematic
What Factors Influence Whether You'll Fully Recover from Anorexia?
Body Image and Eating Disorders
Managing Holiday Meals When You Have an Eating Disorder
You Can Hurt Someone With an Eating Disorder by Saying the Wrong Thing
How to Curb Emotional Eating
Best Eating Disorder Support Groups of 2021
What's An Eating Disorder?
'I Hate My Body': What to Do If You Feel This Way
Could Your Son Have an Eating Disorder?
When College Drinking and Disordered Eating Collide: Drunkorexia
What Are the Symptoms of Bulimia?
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What Is the Cotton Ball Diet?
Is My Loss of Appetite an Eating Disorder?
Everything You Should Know About Pagophagia
I Want to Stop Eating: Do I Have an Eating Disorder?
Strange Food Combinations and Eating Disorders
So You’ve Lost Your Period—How Can You Get it Back?
What Is Night Eating Syndrome?
Watch for These Signs If You Think Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder
Excessive Exercise: Could It Be a Symptom of an Eating Disorder?
4 Signs of Eating Disorders in Children You Might Not Recognize
What Are Compensatory Behaviors in People with Eating Disorders?
How to Identify Purging Disorder?
Perfectionism in Eating Disorders
Symptoms and Warning Signs of Bulimia
Do You Know the Warning Signs of Anorexia in Teens?
Catch Your Cognitive Distortions to Help Recovery
40 Potential Warning Signs of Anorexia
Rapid Overeating and Compensatory Behaviors in Eating Disorders
How to Challenge All-or-Nothing Thinking
Eating Disorders Can Prevent You From Getting Your Period
Page Sources
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  1. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. How to help a loved one.