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5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is defined as any of a variety of psychological disorders characterized by irregular or troubled eating habits.  A lot of us know the basic facts about eating disorders, but what are the things you don’t know about eating disorders? Here are 5 things no one ever tells you about eating disorders.

5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders: You don’t have to be a certain weight or look a certain way to have an eating disorder.

Whether you’re not eating or vomiting, you don’t have to be skinny and if you’re overeating you don’t have to be overweight. While anorexia can cause severe weight loss, other eating disorders may not affect body weight. People with binge-eating disorder can even be overweight. Binge-eating disorder is labelled as repeated episodes of eating big amounts of food in small periods of time. This behavior is defined as out-of-control eating and individuals regularly feel miserable and embarrassed.

5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders: Just like any other disease, an eating disorder is an illness NOT a choice.

“I’m not still convinced everyone knows that eating disorders are illnesses, and they’re not lifestyle choices,” says Lynn Grefe, president chief executive officer of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). “It’s a generational thing, to some extent. Younger people get that now…that people don’t choose to have an eating disorder. But I heard a man say recently—he was over 50—’These young kids they are just trying to be skinny.’ “In reality, anorexia nervosa, possibly the most commonly known of the eating disorders, has been categorized as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association ever since 1980. Bulimia is also an acknowledged eating disorder, as is binge eating disorder.

5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders: It’s not just a disease that females have, it occurs in men, too.

This disease is definitely more commonly known among females, but it can occur in males, also. Males of any age can develop an eating disorder but they are most likely to begin between 14 and 25 – it is not uncommon to have an eating disorder in middle age. This amplified probability could have something to do with transitions. Even though relatively little study has been done on eating disorders in men, it does seem obvious that many of the generally known safety factors are applicable. In specific, the part of eating disorders being a surviving tool or an expression of, core emotional strain – this is relevant to males as much as it is females.

5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia are not the only types of eating disorders; there is EDNOS and disordered eating, too.

Disordered eating is a classification in the DSM-IV to define a widespread variety of irregular eating manners that do not permit a diagnosis of a precise eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Disordered eating can contain behaviors which imitate many but not all of the symptoms of eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).

5 Things No One Ever Tells You about Eating Disorders: Treatment and recovery for eating disorders is a lot like that which is used for drug and alcohol addiction.

The most effective and long-lasting treatment for an eating disorder is some method of psychotherapy or psychological counseling, combined with watchful care to medical and dietary requirements.  If possible, this treatment should be personalized to the individual and will differ according to both the difficulties of the disorder and the patient’s specific issues, necessities, and assets. If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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