What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders, among them anorexia nervosa (voluntary starvation) and bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by purging), occur frequently—but not exclusively—in affluent cultures. A disproportionate number of the diagnosed are young women in their teens and 20s, but the prevalence among young men has increased over the years.

Among the most baffling of conditions, eating disorders take on a life of their own so that eating, or not eating, becomes the focus of everyday existence. Both anorexia and bulimia are powered by a desire for control. But in the case of binge eating disorder, in which people gorge on large amounts of food and generally gain weight, sufferers feel that eating is out of their control.

Both culturally mediated body-image concerns and personality traits like perfectionism and obsessiveness play a large role in eating disorders, which are also often accompanied by depression and/or anxiety.

There is no magic cure for these conditions, which are often challenging to treat, and many cases can be acutely life-threatening, requiring hospitalization and forced nourishment.

Find a Treatment Center here.

Recent posts on Eating Disorders

By kazan.vperemen.com (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Patterns of Addictive Behavior

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on February 22, 2017 in Science of Choice
The following list identifies several important behavioral patterns associated with addiction.

Just Wear it? Tech Won’t Improve Your Fitness On Its Own

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in Nurturing Resilience
Using wearable tech is unlikely to solve the obesity crisis, but it might prevent obesity among those who have less risky lifestyles.

The Hidden Faces of Eating Disorders

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on February 10, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
Research indicates that people at higher weights—fat people—are at increased risk for eating disorders. But their symptoms often go unnoticed.

Recognizing and Treating STDs

Do you have a mental illness or an STD?

Getting off the Diet Treadmill

By Carolyn C. Ross M.D., M.P.H. on February 02, 2017 in Real Healing
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to NOT make yet another New Year's resolution to lose weight?

Dieting, Weight and Making Peace with Food

By Kari Anderson DBH, CEDS on January 31, 2017 in #BeHerNow
As a therapist who works with women with disordered eating, I wish Oprah Winfrey's “success” story wasn’t about the weight.

What It’s Like Being a Guy with Binge Eating Disorder

It's important to remember that men endure eating disorders as well.

Eating Disorders and Stress

For individuals suffering from an eating disorder, environmental and social factors may heighten stress levels and cause destructive mental and behavioral patterns.

Sexual Liberalism and Body Image Acceptance

Criticism of others’ bodies is generally fueled by insecurity and dissatisfaction with one’s own body. Having body acceptance generally predicts sexual openness.

Can Bulimia Cause Dental Issues?

Millions of Americans suffer from an eating disorder and devastatingly enough, many go untreated.

Can You Be Mindful and Still Feel Angry?

Mindfulness will not turn you into a feel-good Zen zombie. It does not stop you from feeling negative emotions; it just helps free you from being controlled by those emotions.

Friends of Teens with Eating Disorders Unsure Where to Turn

Without resources at school, with no one to turn to, teenagers struggle to begin the conversation about eating disorders among their peers.

The Ideal Fit Masculine Body

By Pirkko Markula Ph.D. on January 09, 2017 in Fit Femininity
Do men exercise to improve their appearance? Men's reactions to the muscular body ideal differ.

How's That New Year's Diet Working Out For You So Far?

By Gregg McBride on January 07, 2017 in The Weight-ing Game
This year why not make this the last time you begin a 'weight loss plan' and, instead, think of it as a 'clean, healthy eating for life plan?'

Obese Parents Put Babies at Risk

How parental weight can affect children's health and development.

Why I'm Resolving NOT To Diet This Year

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on January 02, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. This year, I'm resolving NOT to diet. Here are 4 reasons why. I hope you'll join me in making 2017 a diet-free year.

Early Intervention as Panacea: Reality or Myth?

By Emily T. Troscianko on December 31, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
Might the mantra that early intervention improves the chance of full recovery from anorexia lack solid evidence, and do harm as well as good?

Keeping New Year's Resolutions Is Rarely Under Our Control

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on December 26, 2016 in Nurturing Resilience
This year, try changing the world a little if you want to change yourself a lot.

Christmas in Recovery

By Emily T. Troscianko on December 25, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
Tackling a few of the trickiest questions about anorexia recovery

"You're an Addict!"

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on December 21, 2016 in Minority Report
The term "addict" conjures up many negative connotations yet it can also be the most useful term to break one's denial in their journey towards recovery.
Flickr

Tips for Surviving the Holidays in Eating Disorder Recovery

By Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C on December 17, 2016 in Mindful Musings
Are you anxious about the holidays? Here are some tips for maintaining your eating disorder recovery.

Is Weight Loss Surgery a Good Treatment for Binge Eating?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on December 16, 2016 in Eating Mindfully
For many who struggle with binge-eating disorder (BED) and "obesity," weight loss surgery may seem like a cure. But is it really the utopia patients hope for?

Hubbub in the Brain

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on December 15, 2016 in This Is America
The paradigmatic disease of the Age of Discovery, scurvy can teach us a lot about deluded and vivid imaginations, the precision of science, and the structure of meaning.
Pixabay

3 Tips for Finding Identity Outside of an Eating Disorder

By Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C on December 12, 2016 in Mindful Musings
You didn’t choose to have an eating disorder, but you can make the choice to continue on the path towards recovery.

Bulimia: An Integrated Map of Nine Key Elements

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on December 08, 2016 in Theory of Knowledge
Sparked by a recent research on personality factors and eating disorders, this post maps out nine key components to help understand the development of bulimia.

Eating Disorders: How Far We Have Come

Causes of eating disorders are complex and multi-determined. A succinct understanding of where research and theory are headed.
Edward Abramson

Can Mindfulness Reduce Your Belly Fat?

If you have an apple shape, mindfulness might help.

Most People Don’t Gain Much Over the Holidays

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 30, 2016 in Open Gently
Only 10 percent of Americans gain 5 lbs or more during the holiday season. Most gain a pound they lose later.

Are Kids Born, or Made Into, Emotional Overeaters?

Are the roots of emotional overeating in childhood?