An eating disorder is categorized as a mental illness where there is an unhealthy relationship with food. Someone who suffers from an eating disorder often struggles with body image and disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance.
There are 3 main eating disorders:
Anorexia Nervosa is the disorder associated with fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. People with anorexia often skip meals, cut calories, or starve themselves.
Bulimia Nervosa is the disorder associated with intense fear of gaining weight, paired with eating large amounts of food (binge) followed by eliminating the calories by way of vomiting (purge).
Binge Eating Disorder is associated with frequently eating large amounts of food in one sitting until uncomfortably full. The person is unable to stop eating or control how much they eat.
Eating disorders can be genetic or caused by psychological issues like coping skills, control issues, trauma, family trouble, or social issues. Each type of eating disorder has many possible causes.
Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder. Almost 50 percent of these people also meet the criteria for depression.
A mere 10 percent of people with eating disorders receive treatment, and of those only 35 percent seek treatment from a facility that specializes in eating disorders.
In a college campus survey, 91 percent of the women admitted to controlling their weight through dieting. 22 percent said they dieted “often” or “always.”
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death.
More than 50 percent of teen girls and nearly 33 percent of teen boys admit to using unhealthy methods to control their weight including smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, or taking laxatives.
An estimated 25 percent of college-age girls resort to bingeing and purging to manage their weight. 58 percent of the studied girls felt social pressure to maintain a certain size.
Men make up 10 to 15 percent of the population with anorexia and bulimia, but are the least likely to seek help due to the gender stereotypes surrounding the disorders.
69 percent of girls ages 10 to 18 confirm that photographs of models and celebrities in magazines inspired their desired body shape.