Did you know that approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder yet most of them do not know they even have one?

People with eating disorders have an unhealthy relationship with food and their body image. Classified as a mental illness, eating disorders can have life threatening consequences. The three most common types include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder.  But help is available and people do recover. If you think you could have an eating disorder,  take this simple and confidential online quiz from The National Association of Eating Disorders, and read on to find out more.

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    What Is An Eating Disorder?

    It is a mental illness where there is an unhealthy relationship with food and their body image. Eating disturbances of inadequate or excessive food intake and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape will occur. These habits over time can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. 

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    Types of Eating Disorders & Symptoms

    The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa (not eating enough), bulimia nervosa (purging everything you eat) and binge-eating (eating too much).

     

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    Causes of Eating Disorders

    Though the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, it is generally believed that a combination of biological, psychological,and/or environmental abnormalities contribute to the development of these illnesses.

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    Signs & Symptoms

    A man or woman suffering from an eating disorder may reveal several signs and symptoms, some which are:

    Anorexia symptoms: extreme restricted eating, extreme thinning down to bones, relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, weakness and sluggishness from muscle loss, brittle hair and nails, dry and yellowish skin, low blood sugar, damage structure.

    Bulimia symptoms: inflamed throat, swollen salivary glands, worn tooth enamel, acid reflux, severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalanced, intense distress and irritation,

    Binge-eating symptoms: eating large amounts of food, eating even when full. fasting during binge episodes, eating until uncomfortably full, eating alone, feeling distressed, ashamed,or guilty about eating, frequently dieting.

    Others: dieting despite being hazardously underweight, constant weight fluctuations, obsession with calories and fat contents of food, engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking, depression or lethargic stage, avoidance of social functions and switching between periods of overeating and fasting.

     

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    Treatment

    Treatment for an eating disorder is usually comprised with one or more of the following and addressed with medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists for complete care:

    • Medical Care and Monitoring
    • Nutrition
    • Therapy
    • Medications