Did you know that at least 9% of the US population will have an eating disorder in their lifetime?
Did you know that possibly as many as 74% of eating disorders are genetically inherited?
Did you know that eating disorders are the second deadliest mental illness (opioid overdose is first), with on average 1 death every 52 minutes.
Did you know about 26% of people with an eating disorder will attempt suicide?
Did you know there are actually six different eating disorders?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t.
So let’s talk about it.
Anorexia is the lack or loss of appetite in which people have an intense fear of gaining weight and can become dangerously thin. Much of this is driven by society’s definition in beauty. 1% of US females between the age of 10 and 25 is anorexic, and 9 out of 10 of them are women. Doctors still don’t know the underlying cause, though there are numerous risk factors. There is no definite treatment for this. Many times, antidepressants are prescribed. Successful treatment usually includes a combination of medical care, therapy, nutritional counseling and medications.
Bulimia is an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. As with anorexia, there is no definite cause, though many risk factors. One of which can lead to bulimia is sexual abuse. Treatment is going to be the same for anorexia: support, support, support. Those suffering from bulimia are usually of normal body weight.
Binge eating disorder is over eating as a way to cope with stressors. Most that suffer with binge eating will be of increased body weight, even obesity, which can lead to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. They also have a tendency to have obsessive compulsive disorder as well.
The other three are much less common, though worth noting.
Pica, which is eating things that are non-food substances. A well-known example of this is a child eating dirt because they are iron deficient.
Rumination disorder, in which food is voluntarily regurgitated (unlike reflux, which is
involuntary), then re-swallowed or spit out. This usually starts at a very young age and important to address early.
Avoidance/restrictive food intake which affects men more than women. Individuals with this disorder experience disturbed eating either due to a lack of interest in eating or distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors, textures, or temperatures.
The National Eating Disorder Association has multiple resources, including a help line, for anyone that may have more questions.
Please, talk to you doctor. We are here to help, support, love.
…the more you know.
…until next time, IrishDoc07