WHAT IS AN EATING DISORDER?

Eating disorders are bio-psycho-social illnesses in which genetics “loads the gun” and the social environment “pulls the trigger”.  Consequently, people with eating disorders usually have someone in the family with an eating disorder and/or mood disorders, or addictions like alcoholism, drugs, gambling, sexing, spending, etc. Although there are addictive qualities to the symptoms and behaviors of an eating disorder, eating disorders are not simply addictions. There are several types of Eating Disorders and related issues but the most prevalent Eating Disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. These and other related illnesses are manifested by extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binging and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Unfortunately, Eating Disorders are insidious and progressive illnesses. They have the highest mortality rate of all of the other psychological diagnoses and they do not simply get better with time. In fact, when the eating disorder is ignored, the person with the disorder gets better at using it until the eating disorder takes over and there is little left of the “person”. It is imperative that the progression be stopped and treatment is started before the illness becomes entrenched and life-threatening.

More information on eating disorders can be found by clicking the links to the left.

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

For more information, please visit:

Gurze Books is the website of a publishing company owned by Lindsey Hall and Leigh Cohn, M.A.T. who together wrote the first book on bulimia as well as several others. This website has many resources for eating disorder recovery, including books, articles, a therapist directory, listings of national organizations and treatment centers, and much more.

Also, please check out The Anorexia-Reflections Web Store for books written by people in recovery or their families.

Other websites with helpful information:

International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals – iaedp.com

National Eating Disorders Association – nationaleatingdisorders.org

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Other Associated Disorders – anad.org

National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org