Eating disorders -- such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder -- include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating Disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life threatening consequences for females and males.
What Causes an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. Scientists and researchers are still learning about the underlying causes of these emotionally and physically damaging conditions. We do know, however, about some of the general issues that can contribute to the development of eating disorders.
Psychological Factors that can Contribute to Eating Disorders:
Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self starvation and excessive weight loss.
Warning Signs of Anorexia Nervosa:
Anorexia nervosa involves self starvation. The body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally, so it is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy. This "slowing down" can have serious medical consequences.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life threatening eating disorder characterized by a secretive cycle of bingeing and purging.
Warning Signs of Bulimia Nervosa:
Bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to the body. The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles can impact the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified or characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.
Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by:
The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:
Gidwani, G.P. and Rome, E.S. (1997). Eating Disorders. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 40(3), 601-615.
Hsu, G.L.K. (1996). Epidemiology of the Eating Disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 19(4), 681-697.
Zerbe, K.J. (1995). The Body Betrayed. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.
Information on this site was taken from The National Eating Disorders Association web site.
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