What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders, among them anorexia nervosa (voluntary starvation) and bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by purging), occur frequently—but not exclusively—in affluent cultures. A disproportionate number of the diagnosed are young women in their teens and 20s, but the prevalence among young men has increased over the years.

Among the most baffling of conditions, eating disorders take on a life of their own so that eating, or not eating, becomes the focus of everyday existence. Both anorexia and bulimia are powered by a desire for control. But in the case of binge eating disorder, in which people gorge on large amounts of food and generally gain weight, sufferers feel that eating is out of their control.

Both culturally mediated body-image concerns and personality traits like perfectionism and obsessiveness play a large role in eating disorders, which are also often accompanied by depression and/or anxiety.

There is no magic cure for these conditions, which are often challenging to treat, and many cases can be acutely life-threatening, requiring hospitalization and forced nourishment.

Find a Treatment Center here.

Recent posts on Eating Disorders

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Cognitive Biases Ruining Your Diet

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 25, 2016 in Science of Choice
Cognitive biases lead to craving and overeating thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity

Farm Animal Suffering Leaves a Bad Taste In Your Mouth

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Animals and Us
In a series of recent experiments, researchers found that whether we think animals were raised humanely or on a factory farm affects the way their meat tastes.

Smoking in the Shower

What we do in private drives who we are in public.

What's the 4-Letter Word Your Diet Might Be Missing?

By Gregg McBride on August 20, 2016 in The Weight-ing Game
Wanting a quick fix (which can include fads, pills or even surgery), some dieters often ignore the actual "work" it takes to successfully lose excess weight once and for all.

The Danger of Talking to Children About Weight

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on August 16, 2016 in Eating Mindfully
How our misguided quest for health and wellness in our children may be causing harm, and what to do about it.

The "Electrochemical Persuasion" of Neuromodulation

Deliberate stimulation of the brain to manipulate behavior reads like something out of George Orwell’s "1984," but treatment of eating disorders & obesity is no longer "brainless"

Implementing Attachment Theory in Treating Eating Disorders

Understanding the tenants of Attachment Theory and finding ways to operationalize theory in providing solid & appropriate treatment is useful regardless of how the issues got there

How Men Feel About Their Bodies

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on August 10, 2016 in Cravings
Are you a man with concerns about your appearance? You're not alone!

Coaching Our Children

Meal time can be fraught with emotions and conflicts when dealing with an eating disorder. Here are a few tips to avoid the role of food police and maintain a supportive stance.

Learning to Love My Body—All of It

Take active measures to heal your body dissatisfaction and I promise that over time, it will get easier.

Hunger: It's All in Your Head

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on August 01, 2016 in Cravings
Your brain and body work together to tell you when to eat and when to stop.

You Know That The Behavior Is Harmful. Why Can't You Stop?

You’ve promised yourself that you will NOT (pick one: have that drink, binge on that food, take those pills, engage in self-harm, place that bet, etcetera). Then you get home.

Feel Good About Your Eating and Your Weight

You can lose excess weight and keep it off by changing your relationship with your body. You can do it by becoming more compassionately self-aware.

One Eating Habit You Can Easily Change Right Now

By Susan Albers Psy.D. on July 22, 2016 in Comfort Cravings
Find out one easy thing you can do today to change your eating habits. This new study in the journal Appetite, makes you think twice about how you serve food.

My Friend Is a Picky Eater

Notice a recent change in a loved one's eating habits? Here's when you should become concerned.

Study: Genes May Determine What Diet Works for You

Your genetic composition might determine what specific foods are healthiest for you to eat, according to groundbreaking research being presented at a conference in Orlando today.

Moderation - Strategy or Fantasy?

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on July 06, 2016 in Obesely Speaking
When moderation is the answer but not an option...

To Failure

By Emily T. Troscianko on June 30, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
What would a world look like in which we made our failures as public as our successes?

Am I Really This Selfish, or Is It Just the Anorexia?

By Emily T. Troscianko on June 30, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
Anorexia turns people into less nice versions of themselves. What does this mean, exactly, and does that nicer person you used to be really resurface during recovery?

Mending the Eating Disorder Fence: Neither This nor That

Attachment issues in children and adults are precursors or precipitating factors in the development of eating disorders. What does this mean?

Are Vegans Eating Disordered?

Intrigued by the trend in juicing, kale smoothies, and vegan treats? Worried that it might go too far? Read on for more on the relationship between eating disorders and veganism.

Are Doctors Prescribing Bulimia as a Weight-Loss Tool?

AspireAssist, a device newly approved by the FDA, shows us just how far we are willing to go in our quest for weight loss.

A Stomach Drain: The New Level of Combatting Obesity

Could this new technology result in a new kind of eating disorder, despite the built in controls?

The Forking Paths of Children and No Children

By Emily T. Troscianko on June 13, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
Can an eating disorder, even years after recovery, carry on affecting how we think about the possibility of having children? If so, how? Can we ever really tell?

Helping Child Victims of Sexual Abuse

How to help children with obesity who have been sexually abused? Let them know there is an end to their long journey towards health, safety, and happiness.

Three ways depression is connected to food

With depression often comes dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. Food, the fuel our body runs on, plays a key role in this mind-body relationship.
Aletia/BigStock

Eating Disorder Treatment: In Home Transitional Support

By Greta Gleissner LCSW on June 08, 2016 in Bottom's Up
Transitional eating disorder specialists are meeting clients in their homes, at local restaurants, on college campuses, or just off campus to provide meal support and coaching.

Can Antidepressants Turn You Into a Food Addict?

There may be a very simple cure for treating food addiction issues.

Should You Try to Lose Weight?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on June 06, 2016 in Cravings
If you're carrying extra weight, it's up to you to decide what to do about it. No one else is in charge of your body.

“Mom, I Feel Fat"

By Marcia Morris M.D. on June 05, 2016 in College Wellness
The National Eating Disorders Association shows that over a 13-year period, eating disorders increased from 7.9 to 25% for males and 23.4% to 32.6% for females.