Leading cause of eating disorders

Eating disorders - Symptoms and causes


Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact your health, your emotions and your ability to function in important areas of life. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on your weight, body shape and food, leading to dangerous eating behaviors. These behaviors can significantly impact your body's ability to get appropriate nutrition. Eating disorders can harm the heart, digestive system, bones, and teeth and mouth, and lead to other diseases.

Eating disorders often develop in the teen and young adult years, although they can develop at other ages. With treatment, you can return to healthier eating habits and sometimes reverse serious complications caused by the eating disorder.

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Symptoms vary, depending on the type of eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders. Other eating disorders include rumination disorder and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia (an-o-REK-see-uh) nervosa — often simply called anorexia — is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight or shape. People with anorexia use extreme efforts to control their weight and shape, which often significantly interferes with their health and life activities.

When you have anorexia, you excessively limit calories or use other methods to lose weight, such as excessive exercise, using laxatives or diet aids, or vomiting after eating. Efforts to reduce your weight, even when underweight, can cause severe health problems, sometimes to the point of deadly self-starvation.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia (boo-LEE-me-uh) nervosa — commonly called bulimia — is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging.

During these episodes, you typically eat a large amount of food in a short time, and then try to rid yourself of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. Because of guilt, shame and an intense fear of weight gain from overeating, you may force vomiting or you may exercise too much or use other methods, such as laxatives, to get rid of the calories.

If you have bulimia, you're probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape, and may judge yourself severely and harshly for your self-perceived flaws. You may be at a normal weight or even a bit overweight.

Binge-eating disorder

When you have binge-eating disorder, you regularly eat too much food (binge) and feel a lack of control over your eating. You may eat quickly or eat more food than intended, even when you're not hungry, and you may continue eating even long after you're uncomfortably full.

After a binge, you may feel guilty, disgusted or ashamed by your behavior and the amount of food eaten. But you don't try to compensate for this behavior with excessive exercise or purging, as someone with bulimia or anorexia might. Embarrassment can lead to eating alone to hide your bingeing.

A new round of bingeing usually occurs at least once a week. You may be normal weight, overweight or obese.

Rumination disorder

Rumination disorder is repeatedly and persistently regurgitating food after eating, but it's not due to a medical condition or another eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Food is brought back up into the mouth without nausea or gagging, and regurgitation may not be intentional. Sometimes regurgitated food is rechewed and reswallowed or spit out.

The disorder may result in malnutrition if the food is spit out or if the person eats significantly less to prevent the behavior. The occurrence of rumination disorder may be more common in infancy or in people who have an intellectual disability.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

This disorder is characterized by failing to meet your minimum daily nutrition requirements because you don't have an interest in eating; you avoid food with certain sensory characteristics, such as color, texture, smell or taste; or you're concerned about the consequences of eating, such as fear of choking. Food is not avoided because of fear of gaining weight.

The disorder can result in significant weight loss or failure to gain weight in childhood, as well as nutritional deficiencies that can cause health problems.

When to see a doctor

An eating disorder can be difficult to manage or overcome by yourself. Eating disorders can virtually take over your life. If you're experiencing any of these problems, or if you think you may have an eating disorder, seek medical help.

Urging a loved one to seek treatment

Unfortunately, many people with eating disorders may not think they need treatment. If you're worried about a loved one, urge him or her to talk to a doctor. Even if your loved one isn't ready to acknowledge having an issue with food, you can open the door by expressing concern and a desire to listen.

Be alert for eating patterns and beliefs that may signal unhealthy behavior, as well as peer pressure that may trigger eating disorders. Red flags that may indicate an eating disorder include:

  • Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
  • Adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet
  • Excessive focus on healthy eating
  • Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats
  • Withdrawing from normal social activities
  • Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Calluses on the knuckles from inducing vomiting
  • Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting
  • Leaving during meals to use the toilet
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
  • Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
  • Eating in secret

If you're worried that your child may have an eating disorder, contact his or her doctor to discuss your concerns. If needed, you can get a referral to a qualified mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders, or if your insurance permits it, contact an expert directly.

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The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. As with other mental illnesses, there may be many causes, such as:

  • Genetics and biology. Certain people may have genes that increase their risk of developing eating disorders. Biological factors, such as changes in brain chemicals, may play a role in eating disorders.
  • Psychological and emotional health. People with eating disorders may have psychological and emotional problems that contribute to the disorder. They may have low self-esteem, perfectionism, impulsive behavior and troubled relationships.

Risk factors

Teenage girls and young women are more likely than teenage boys and young men to have anorexia or bulimia, but males can have eating disorders, too. Although eating disorders can occur across a broad age range, they often develop in the teens and early 20s.

Certain factors may increase the risk of developing an eating disorder, including:

  • Family history. Eating disorders are significantly more likely to occur in people who have parents or siblings who've had an eating disorder.
  • Other mental health disorders. People with an eating disorder often have a history of an anxiety disorder, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Dieting and starvation. Dieting is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Starvation affects the brain and influences mood changes, rigidity in thinking, anxiety and reduction in appetite. There is strong evidence that many of the symptoms of an eating disorder are actually symptoms of starvation. Starvation and weight loss may change the way the brain works in vulnerable individuals, which may perpetuate restrictive eating behaviors and make it difficult to return to normal eating habits.
  • Stress. Whether it's heading off to college, moving, landing a new job, or a family or relationship issue, change can bring stress, which may increase your risk of an eating disorder.


Eating disorders cause a wide variety of complications, some of them life-threatening. The more severe or long lasting the eating disorder, the more likely you are to experience serious complications, such as:

  • Serious health problems
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Problems with growth and development
  • Social and relationship problems
  • Substance use disorders
  • Work and school issues
  • Death


Although there's no sure way to prevent eating disorders, here are some strategies to help your child develop healthy-eating behaviors:

  • Avoid dieting around your child. Family dining habits may influence the relationships children develop with food. Eating meals together gives you an opportunity to teach your child about the pitfalls of dieting and encourages eating a balanced diet in reasonable portions.
  • Talk to your child. For example, there are numerous websites that promote dangerous ideas, such as viewing anorexia as a lifestyle choice rather than an eating disorder. It's crucial to correct any misperceptions like this and to talk to your child about the risks of unhealthy eating choices.
  • Cultivate and reinforce a healthy body image in your child, whatever his or her shape or size. Talk to your child about self-image and offer reassurance that body shapes can vary. Avoid criticizing your own body in front of your child. Messages of acceptance and respect can help build healthy self-esteem and resilience that will carry children through the rocky periods of the teen years.
  • Enlist the help of your child's doctor. At well-child visits, doctors may be able to identify early indicators of an eating disorder. They can ask children questions about their eating habits and satisfaction with their appearance during routine medical appointments, for instance. These visits should include checks of height and weight percentiles and body mass index, which can alert you and your child's doctor to any significant changes.

If you notice a family member or friend who seems to show signs of an eating disorder, consider talking to that person about your concern for his or her well-being. Although you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, reaching out with compassion may encourage the person to seek treatment.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

NIMH » Eating Disorders


There is a commonly held misconception that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a condition where people avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They also may weigh themselves repeatedly. Even when dangerously underweight, they may see themselves as overweight.

There are two subtypes of anorexia nervosa: a restrictive subtype and a binge-purge subtype.

Restrictive: People with the restrictive subtype of anorexia nervosa severely limit the amount and type of food they consume.

Binge-Purge: People with the binge-purge subtype of anorexia nervosa also greatly restrict the amount and type of food they consume. In addition, they may have binge-eating and purging episodes—eating large amounts of food in a short time followed by vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics to get rid of what was consumed.

Anorexia nervosa can be fatal. It has an extremely high death (mortality) rate compared with other mental disorders. People with anorexia are at risk of dying from medical complications associated with starvation. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

If you or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. In life-threatening situations, call 911.

Symptoms include:

  • Extremely restricted eating
  • Extreme thinness (emaciation)
  • A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

  • Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • Mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Dry and yellowish skin
  • Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)
  • Severe constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing and pulse
  • Damage to the structure and function of the heart
  • Brain damage
  • Multiorgan failure
  • Drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
  • Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time
  • Infertility

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a condition where people have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or over overweight.

Symptoms include:

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid
  • Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • Severe dehydration from purging of fluids
  • Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium, and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack

Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder is a condition where people lose control over their eating and have reoccurring episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

Symptoms include:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period
  • Eating even when you're full or not hungry
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until you're uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), previously known as selective eating disorder, is a condition where people limit the amount or type of food eaten. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with ARFID do not have a distorted body image or extreme fear of gaining weight. ARFID is most common in middle childhood and usually has an earlier onset than other eating disorders. Many children go through phases of picky eating, but a child with ARFID does not eat enough calories to grow and develop properly, and an adult with ARFID does not eat enough calories to maintain basic body function.

Symptoms include:

  • Dramatic restriction of types or amount of food eaten
  • Lack of appetite or interest in food
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Upset stomach, abdominal pain, or other gastrointestinal issues with no other known cause
  • Limited range of preferred foods that becomes even more limited (“picky eating” that gets progressively worse)

Risk Factors

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood but may also develop during childhood or later in life.

Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Researchers are using the latest technology and science to better understand eating disorders.

One approach involves the study of human genes. Eating disorders run in families. Researchers are working to identify DNA variations that are linked to the increased risk of developing eating disorders.

Brain imaging studies are also providing a better understanding of eating disorders. For example, researchers have found differences in patterns of brain activity in women with eating disorders in comparison with healthy women. This kind of research can help guide the development of new means of diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders.

Treatments and Therapies

It is important to seek treatment early for eating disorders. People with eating disorders are at higher risk for suicide and medical complications. People with eating disorders can often have other mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety) or problems with substance use. Complete recovery is possible.

Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following:

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications


Family-based therapy, a type of psychotherapy where parents of adolescents with anorexia nervosa assume responsibility for feeding their child, appears to be very effective in helping people gain weight and improve eating habits and moods.

To reduce or eliminate binge-eating and purging behaviors, people may undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is another type of psychotherapy that helps a person learn how to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns and recognize and change inaccurate beliefs.


Evidence also suggests that medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers may also be helpful for treating eating disorders and other co-occurring illnesses such as anxiety or depression. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website has the latest information on medication approvals, warnings, and patient information guides.

Join a Study

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. We have new and better treatment options today because of what clinical trials uncovered years ago. Be part of tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you.

To learn more or find a study, visit:

  • NIMH’s Clinical Trials webpage: Information about participating in clinical trials
  • Clinicaltrials. gov: Current Studies on Eating Disorders: List of clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) being conducted across the country

Learn More

Free Brochures and Shareable Resources

  • Eating Disorders: About More Than Food: A brochure about the common eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, and various approaches to treatment. Also available en español.
  • Let’s Talk About Eating Disorders: An infographic with facts that can help shape conversations around eating disorders. Also available in en español.
  • Shareable Resources on Eating Disorders: Help support eating disorders awareness and education in your community. Use these digital resources, including graphics and messages, to spread the word about eating disorders.

Research and Statistics

  • NIMH Eating Disorders Research Program: This program supports research on the etiology, core features, longitudinal course, and assessment of eating disorders.
  • Journal Articles: References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine).
  • Statistics: Eating Disorders


  • Mental Health Minute: Eating Disorders: Take a mental health minute to watch this video on eating disorders.
  • Let’s Talk About Eating Disorders with NIMH Grantee Dr. Cynthia Bulik: Learn about the signs, symptoms, treatments, and the latest research on eating disorders.

Last Reviewed: December 2021

Unless otherwise specified, NIMH information and publications are in the public domain and available for use free of charge. Citation of NIMH is appreciated. Please see our Citing NIMH Information and Publications page for more information.

Eating disorders | Tervisliku toitumise informatsioon

Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses that damage a person's physical and mental health and impair their overall quality of life - relationships, work and personal development suffer.

Eating disorders disrupt the connection with one's own body, resulting in highly problematic eating behavior. Weight and body shape are overemphasized, underweight is idealized, and various methods are used to lose weight or prevent weight gain. nine0003

Approximately 8% of women and 2% of men will develop an eating disorder during their lifetime. Eating disorders occur in any population, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. However, they are most common in girls and young women.

Eating disorders are a group of diseases that are distributed differently in different classifications. The most common eating disorders are anorexia ( anorexia nervosa ), bulimia ( bulimia nervosa ) and compulsive overeating ( binge-eating disorder ).

The term "eating disorder" is often erroneously used as a synonym for selective eating disorder, as both are associated with eating disorders. However, the reasons for them are different: an eating disorder is caused by a desire to control weight, while in a selective eating disorder, eating certain foods causes anxiety or fear. nine0003

Other eating disorders

Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders are the three most common and well-known eating disorders. However, often not all of the symptoms of a person with an eating disorder correspond to one specific disorder. In such cases, these disorders are referred to as "atypical" or "other eating disorders". A common myth is that in such cases the course of the disease is milder and treatment is treated more lightly. However, this is erroneous, since the name of the disease indicates only its diagnostic criteria, and not the severity or course. nine0003

All eating disorders, no matter how they are called or classified, are dangerous conditions that impair quality of life and require treatment.

Causes of Eating Disorders

There is never one single cause of an eating disorder. These are complex diseases, in the development of which a combination of many factors plays an important role. Genetic, biological and environmental factors always play a role. Modern social representations, including the culture of diets and the cult of slimness, contribute to the development of psychological vulnerability, which can become a fertile environment for the formation of eating disorders. Probably for the same reasons, a higher incidence of eating disorders is observed in sports in which weight is of great importance, and among representatives of professions focused on appearance. However, it should be emphasized that browsing social networks or playing a certain sport does not contribute to the development of the disease. There are many factors involved in the development of the disease that are usually beyond the control of the individual. However, it is often more practical and even more important to identify the factors that support the disease, since changing them is associated with better treatment outcomes. nine0003

Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can be life-threatening illnesses with a long and chronic course; they have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness. Treating eating disorders is often a lengthy and complex process. However, early intervention is paramount to achieve a good treatment outcome.
Diagnosis and treatment of an eating disorder usually begins with the family doctor. Family sisters can provide advice on healthy eating. Psychiatrists are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders as a psychiatric illness. The participation of a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist is also important. nine0003

There are two centers in Estonia that specialize in the treatment of eating disorders: the Department of Eating Disorders of the Mental Health Center of the Tallinn Children's Hospital treats children and adolescents, and the Department of Eating Disorders of the Psychiatric Clinic of the Tartu University Hospital treats adolescents and adults.

For more information about eating disorders and advice on what to do if you suspect a loved one has an eating disorder, visit peaasi.ee. nine0003

Causes, Symptoms, Signs and Treatments in 2019

  • What is Eating Disorder (what is EDD)?
  • Types of Eating Disorders (EDI)
  • Causes of Eating Disorders
  • Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders
  • Treatment of Eating Disorders
  • Stories of girls who have recovered from eating disorders
  • nine0044 Thesis on Eating Disorders

Eating disorders (EDDs) are diseases characterized by unhealthy eating behavior based on preoccupation with body weight and appearance.

Eating disorders may include inappropriate or excessive food intake, which may eventually markedly impair an individual's well-being. The most common forms of eating disorders (EDDs) are anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating - all of them occur in both women and men.

Eating disorders can develop at any stage of life, but tend to form and become more common during adolescence or early childhood. Properly selected therapy can be very effective in the treatment of many types of eating disorders.

If RPP is left untreated and left without due attention, the symptoms and consequences can be very deplorable, lead to the destruction of health and even lead to death of the patient. Eating disorders are often accompanied by psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, neurosis, substance abuse and/or alcohol. nine0003

If you cannot cope with the disease on your own, we recommend that you seek help, because in the treatment of bulimia, with frequent induction of vomiting after eating, serious professional help is needed either from a psychotherapist or an eating disorder specialist.

Want to cure bulimia?

The three most common types of eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia - A man or woman suffering from anorexia usually has an obsessive fear of gaining weight, refuses to maintain a healthy body weight, and has a distorted body image. Many people with anorexia severely limit the amount of food they eat and consider themselves fat, even if in fact they are much underweight. Anorexia can have detrimental health effects such as brain damage, multiple organ failure, bone loss, infertility, and heart problems. This eating disorder has the highest mortality rate. nine0045

  • Bulimia - This eating disorder is characterized by frequent overeating, accompanied by "compensating" behavior - artificial vomiting, excessive exercise and abuse of laxatives and diuretics. Men and women who suffer from Bulimia may fear weight gain and be dissatisfied with the size and shape of their own bodies. Overeating and purging tend to happen in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control. Side effects of bulimia include gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration, and heart problems caused by electrolyte imbalances. nine0045

  • Binge eating disorder (CB) - Individuals suffering from compulsive overeating often lose control of their eating. Unlike bulimia, binge eating is not accompanied by compensatory behaviors such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise. Compulsive overeating can be divided into 2 types:
  • FIRST TYPE , in which, after frequent episodes of compulsive overeating, the patient goes on a strict diet, from which he again breaks down and goes to the CP. nine0045
  • SECOND TYPE , in which the patient is kept on a strict diet for a week, and on weekends he goes on a food "binge" and then is compensated by laxatives or increased sports. Patients may also experience strong feelings of guilt, anguish, and embarrassment (associated with their binge eating), which may affect the further development of eating disorders.

Causes of Eating Disorders

The exact cause of eating disorders has not yet been officially confirmed. Anna Vladimirovna Nazarenko, head of the Eating Behavior Recovery Clinic, based on more than 15 years of practical experience, believes that one of the common causes is an individual feature of the aesthetic perception of a person, which is laid in us even before birth. In simple terms, the main reason is the desire to be thin and beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, as an individual personality trait. The type of eating disorder that a patient develops depends on psychological characteristics and external social factors. nine0003

Examples of psychological features:

  • Negative perception of one's own body;
  • Low self-esteem.

If you cannot cope with the disease on your own, we recommend that you seek help, because in the treatment of bulimia, with frequent vomiting after eating, serious professional help is needed either from a psychotherapist or an eating disorder specialist.

Want to cure bulimia? nine0003

Examples of social factors:

  • Dysfunctional family dynamics;
  • Occupation and occupation that promotes weight loss, such as ballet and modeling;
  • Aesthetically oriented sports promoting a muscular toned body;
  • Examples:
  • Bodybuilding;
  • Ballet;
  • nine0044 Gymnastics;
  • Wrestling;
  • Long distance running;
  • Family and childhood injuries;
  • Cultural pressure and/or pressure from peers and/or friends and colleagues;
  • Difficult experiences or life problems.

To date, no studies have been conducted in the field of eating disorders and no evidence has been found in favor of the theory of a genetic predisposition to an eating disorder. The only thing that has been reliably proven is that the risk of getting bulimic is higher if someone in the family has an addiction (alcohol, drug or bulimia). nine0003

Signs and Symptoms of an Eating Disorder

A man or woman with an eating disorder may exhibit a range of signs and symptoms, for example:

  • Chronic dieting despite being dangerously underweight;
  • Frequent fluctuations in weight;
  • Obsession with calories and fat in food;
  • Ritualization of eating, eg cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone and/or habit of hiding food; nine0045
  • Obsession with food, recipes or cooking. A person may cook complex meals for others but refuse to eat together:
  • Depression or apathy:
  • Avoidance of social functions, family and friends. The patient may isolate and withdraw from public life:
  • Alternating periods of overeating and fasting.

Eating Disorder Treatment in 2019

Given the severity and complexity of these conditions, patients require comprehensive treatment under the supervision of a diverse team of eating disorder specialists. Here, too, everything depends on the level of destruction of the personality. Specialists include: a professional eating disorder specialist, a psychotherapist, in some cases a gastroenterologist, an internist, and a neurologist. nine0003

Currently in Israel and Russia outdated methods of inpatient treatment with antidepressants are mainly used, which destroy the liver, kidneys, and have a short-term effect. The patient is constantly in a state of inhibition and the psychotherapist does not have the opportunity to work effectively and conduct personality psychotherapy in this state of the patient. Such a state only helps doctors in the hospital to feed the patient and has a short-term effect, i.e. gives a short remission time, but does not give a long-term stable and successful final recovery, since it is necessary to work with the patient through awareness. As practice shows, the latest PSYCHOTHERAPY indicates that the best method of treating ED is outpatient treatment and psychotherapy without a hospital and antidepressants (an exception may be only cases of acute anorexia, when it is already a question of life and death). nine0011

The Individual Treatment Plans are used to address many of the challenges a man or woman faces in regaining their health and well-being. Treatment of eating disorders is usually supervised by one or more specialists (psychologist, neurologist, etc.):

  • Medical supervision and care. The biggest challenge in treating eating disorders is dealing with any health problems that may have resulted from the eating disorder; nine0045
  • Nutrition: Restoration and stabilization of a healthy weight, normalization of eating habits and development of an individual nutrition plan;
  • Psychotherapy: Various forms of psychotherapy (individual, family or group) can help address the underlying causes of eating disorders. Psychotherapy is a fundamental part of treatment, as it is it that can help the patient survive traumatic life events and learn how to properly express their emotions, communicate and maintain healthy relationships with others; nine0045
  • Medications: Some medications can be very effective in relieving symptoms of depression or anxiety that can occur with eating disorders, or in reducing binge eating and purging.

Depending on the severity of the eating disorder, different levels of treatment may be recommended for the patient, ranging from outpatient support groups to inpatient treatment centers. In any case, the patient first of all needs to recognize the presence of RPP and seek help from specialists. nine0003

Find out the cost of therapy

Stories of girls who have recovered from ED

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Basic Theses about Eating Disorders
  • Anorexia kills . This disease actually has the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders. The media often reports on celebrity deaths from anorexia. Perhaps the first such case was the death of Karen Carpenter in the early eighties. The singer suffered from anorexia and abused emetics. She eventually succumbed to heart failure. Many years later, her sad experience was repeated by Christina Renee Henrich, a world famous gymnast who died at 1994 year.

  • "Women Athlete Syndrome" is a dangerous condition that can put professional athletes at risk of lifelong health problems. Their coaches, friends and family should support them and help prevent eating disorders.

  • Serious changes in life can trigger the development of an eating disorder . Getting started at university is no exception. A young man or girl leaves home, leaves friends and family to go into the unknown. For some, being a student can be much more emotionally difficult than for others. The start of adulthood can be a major psychological upheaval and, unfortunately, being a student can trigger the development of an eating disorder. nine0045

  • Eating disorders are thought to be more common in wealthy, well-educated women who belong to a high socioeconomic class. Eating disorders are also often considered an exclusively "European" disease and therefore rarely seen in other ethnic groups. However, this is all a big misconception. In fact, eating disorders have been around for a long time in many cultures and ethnic groups. And this is another proof that there are no barriers and restrictions for eating disorders. Men, women, Europeans, African-Americans, residents of the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, and others can become victims of eating disorders. For example, in the Anna Nazarenko Eating Behavior Recovery Clinic, the second place in terms of the number of applications belongs to Kazakhstan, the third place is shared by Belarus and Ukraine, the first place belongs to Russia. nine0045

  • According to the National Eating Disorders Association, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (and other members of the LGBT community) are at higher risk of developing eating disorders, incl. anorexia and bulimia. Single gays and bisexuals are more likely to suffer from anorexia (because they are forced to maintain a slim figure as a competitive advantage), while gays and bisexuals who are in a relationship are more likely to suffer from bulimia. Lesbian and bisexual women with eating disorders are not much different from heterosexual women with eating disorders, but lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to have psychiatric disorders. nine0045

  • In pursuit of the ideal . Ballerinas put in a lot of effort to succeed in their profession, however, as a result, they often become victims of eating disorders. It's no secret that ballet dancers often suffer from eating disorders, and this is understandable, since during training and rehearsals in front of a large mirror, they have to compare themselves with their competitors. Moreover, professional ballet itself promotes unhealthy thinness. nine0045

  • Does vegetarianism contribute to eating disorders? Currently, about five percent of Americans consider themselves vegetarians (they exclude meat and animal products from their diet). This percentage does not take into account those who consider themselves "quasi-vegetarians" (people who eat some animal products, but at the same time the basis of their diet is plant foods). Vegetarianism is much more common among those suffering from eating disorders. Approximately half of patients struggling with an eating disorder practice some form of a vegetarian diet. nine0045

  • The most serious complications resulting from eating disorders are malnutrition or an unstable heartbeat. At the same time, a number of complications associated with eating disorders can have serious long-term consequences for the patient's health, even if they are not obvious and practically do not manifest themselves. Bone loss or osteoporosis is a "silent" yet very serious disease that often affects patients with anorexia. nine0045

  • Because of the sheer amount of misinformation about eating disorders, these major illnesses tend to be misunderstood, oversimplified, or grossly generalized. The truth is that eating disorders are complex diseases due to many factors. Understanding the consequences of eating disorder can help raise awareness about how to get help.

  • The media plays an important role in promoting an unhealthy perception of one's own appearance , as retouched images in magazines and on TV screens create an unattainable ideal of a "perfect body".

  • Until the patient learns to eat properly and respond to external challenges, he will not be able to return to normal communication with his family and friends. Once he has successfully adopted healthy eating habits, it is time to start rehabilitation therapy. nine0045

Five irreversible health effects of bulimia


Most girls and women are captivated by stereotypes and in pursuit of an ideal appearance and figure are constantly trying to change themselves. Often the consequence of such a war is bulimia.

7 Reasons Why You Start Gaining Weight By Trying To Lose Weight By Vomiting After Eating nine0003


Many mistakenly believe that vomiting after eating helps to get rid of excess weight, especially if there is a "cleansing" after each meal.

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