Come Saturday (2/27) National Eating Disorder Awareness Week will come to a close. You will be surprised exactly how many people this disorder effects, especially for being a mental illness that is swept under the rug more often than not. People who have these disorders usually suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness and the feeling of a lack of control in their lives. Most often they suppress or deal with these issues by controlling their food consumption until they are satisfied.
There are three major types of eating disorders; Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa is typically characterized as the act of self-starvation with excessive weight loss. Some symptoms that point towards this disorder are; refusal to maintain a healthy weight at or above the projected norm for height, body type, age and physical activity (this is the biggest tipper that you or someone you know has anorexia nervosa). Another is an acute fear of gaining weight and the feeling of being ‘fat' (this is the nervosa part) with an all-consuming concern with body weight and image. And lastly the disorder can cause loss of menstrual cycles in some patients.
Bulimia Nervosa is usually constituted as a secretive period of binge eating (over eating) followed shortly after by purging (self-infected vomiting, laxative abuse, over-exercising, fasting and/or abuse of diet pills). Symptoms of this disorder include; repeated episodes of bingeing and purging, lack of self control leading to over eating (usually significantly more than one meal's worth of food) and an all-consuming concern with body weight and image.
Binge Eating Disorder is unlike the previous two because is does not have to involve excessive weight loss, in fact the patient can vary in weight from normal to severely obese. This disorder is characterized as episodes of impulsive, extreme loss of control, over eating to the point of being uncomfortably full and usually follows with feelings of shame, self-hatred, loneliness and disappointment.
Below are some shocking facts about eating disorders provided by the Eating Disorder Clinic.
In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 18 million people are affected by eating disorders. Of that number, 7 million are women.
In Americans with eating disorders, 95% are between 12 and 25 years of age.
Of all the mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate.
18-20% of anorexics die within 20 years of developing the disease.
Of American 13-year-olds, 80% have tried to lose weight.
Of women who are addicted to alcohol, 72% also suffer from an eating disorder.
It is estimated that only about 50% of anorexics recover.
For more unbelievable statistics about the disease visit the Eating Disorder Clinic website.
With so many people, especially women, being affect by the disease knowing where to go is critical in the patient's recovery. There are clinics, centers and specialists around the Lansing area that devote most of their time to these mental illnesses. Click on the following links to view names and locations of area centers.