Eating disorders can develop from a variety of physical, emotional, and social issues. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses. Anorexia Nervosa has the highest premature fatality rate of any mental illness (Sullivan, 1995, source- National Eating Disorders Association).
Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by a cycle of binge eating and behaviors to "undo" the binge, including self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, and excessive exercise. Binge Eating Disorder is charaterized by excessive binge eating without the counter behaviors seen in bulimia.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, "In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995). Because of the secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and subclinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. For example, it has been shown that 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (Smolak, 1996)."
It is important to understand that prevention, treatment, and recovery from these illnesses is possible.
For more information on eating disorders, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
For more information about assessments and treatment options in the Charlotte area, visit www.southlakecounseling.com or call (704) 896-7776.