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

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A Gift from Mothers to Daughters

By Renee Engeln Ph.D. on May 22, 2017 in Beauty Sick
The messages we hear about women and beauty make it hard to have healthy attitudes toward our bodies. But we can make certain those messages stop at our own front door.

Anxious? There Are Two Ways To Go

Some believe the way to deal with anxiety is to replace uncertainty with certainty that what is feared can't happen. That is not the way the brain is supposed to work.

Trading in Celiac Disease for an Eating Disorder

The billion dollar "gluten-free" diet fad may be causing more harm to your mental health than you realize as we trade in gluten in exchange for disordered eating.
"Fitball_Group_Fitness_Class"/www.localfitness.com.au /CC BY-SA 3.0

Body Shame Is Not a Diet Plan

By Renee Engeln Ph.D. on May 14, 2017 in Beauty Sick
Fostering body shame is not an effective way to get healthy. Shame makes you want to withdraw from important activities and meaningful connections with others. Shame can be a threa

Should Therapists Self-Disclose?

To self-disclose or not to self-disclose: that is the controversial question.

How Much Does a Blog Title Matter?

By Emily T. Troscianko on April 29, 2017 in A Hunger Artist
Lately I’ve begun to wonder whether A Hunger Artist is an awful name for this blog. How do you interpret it? How do I worry you do? How would I like you to?

Is Anorexia the Latest Treatment for Obesity?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 27, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
Is it possible that a mental illness holds the secret to treating obesity? That’s what some leading eating disorder experts propose.

Furthering the Discussion on FAT: Fear Not

Ingesting fat is feared because of links to weight gain by people with eating disorders and those who don’t have an eating disorder. Addressing confusion and misrepresentation.

A Semi-Parody One Item Personality Test

What is the opposite of eating?

Don't Be the Chicken and Cheetos Lady

By Colleen Long Psy.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Happiness Rx
This is why psychologists deny certain people for weight loss surgery.
shock/BigStock

What Is Dance Movement Therapy?

The same endorphins that make you feel better when moving also help you concentrate, sleep better, have more energy, and deal with mental and emotional challenges in life.

These Are Strange Days in Which to Be an Ex-Bulimarexic

By Anneli Rufus on April 04, 2017 in Stuck
Eating disorders, unlike most other disorders, have an endgame, a vision of victory. Will traces of that yearning haunt us every time we butter toast or watch you slicing pie?

A Mathematician’s Education in Mental Health

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 31, 2017 in A Hunger Artist
Having grown up blissfully ignorant about mental illness, you now have a partner whose writing and research center on eating disorders, and your take on it all starts to change.

Why Your Mistakes Matter Less Than You Think

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 29, 2017 in A Hunger Artist
You lose something valuable. You kick yourself for it. Why do you never congratulate yourself when you don’t lose things? Just how confused are we about the mistakes we make?

Is Global Warming Making You Fat?

Brown fat can help control your weight but only when you're cold.
Kristen Fuller

Eating Disorders: It’s Not All About Food

We often think if we lose those ten pounds, gain muscle or adopt that healthy skin glow then we will feel better to only soon realize our self-esteem is still in the gutter.

Recovery and Fulfillment in Loss and Longing:

Understanding unconscious motivation, strengthening ego defenses, experiencing loss & longing facilitate eating disorder recovery and enable responsible & honorable decision making

Whole Paycheck Pauper? You’re Paying 47% More For Psychology

Eggs all in one basket? “Organic food” and its marketing is not all it’s cracked up to be. The firmest fact about organic is the marketing power behind it.

Six Signs to Assess an Eating Disorder

Understanding the signs of an eating disorder diagnoses can help you take life-saving measures.

Connecting With Teens So They Can Thrive and Ultimate

The Resilience Regiment speaks with The Lotus Collaborative

Your Gut Health and Your Weight

If you've struggled with obesity, you may not know that the state of your gut health may be part of the problem.

Should We Focus on a Women’s Weight During Pregnancy?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on March 11, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
The irony of weight-focused care is that the more preoccupied we become with trying to control our weight, the more out-of-control it often becomes.
Pixabay

Feeling an Urge and Then Doing an "Opposite Action"

An important skill from dialectical behavioral therapy.

Making Space for the Exceptional

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 08, 2017 in A Hunger Artist
In illness, in recovery, and in health, it’s easy to forget how significantly magical a momentary departure from the everyday can be.

Nicole's Story: Anorexia and Access to Care

Your heart cannot beat unless you feed it. Nicole, a young woman who lived with Anorexia Nervosa, shares her story.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa?

It's been called "the secretive syndrome," and the intense shame can obstruct seeking help.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is torture for the afflicted person, terrifying for parents, and terribly frustrating for clinicians...
Pixabay, Public Domain, Free for Commercial use

Feeding and Needing

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017.

3 Myths About Men and Eating Disorders

Not an #AlternativeFact. Men do struggle with 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.