What are Eating Disorders?

Disordered eating often (but not always) occurs in affluent cultures, especially in America, where anorexia nervosa (voluntary starvation) and bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by purging) now afflict one in ten people.

Most of the diagnosed are young women in their teens and 20s, but the prevalence is increasing among young men each year.

Among the most baffling of conditions, eating disorders take on a life of their own so that eating, or not eating, becomes the point of everyday existence. Both anorexia and bulimia are powered by a desire for control.

But in another eating disorder, binge-eating, 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 creating eating disorders, which are also often accompanied by depression and/or anxiety.

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

Find a Treatment Center here.

Recent posts on Eating Disorders

A Hot Mess

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on May 28, 2016 in Obesely Speaking
The thin line between psychic survival against all odds and systematic self-destruction.

Mindfulness and Self-Destructive Behavior: What Next?

Sometimes you can get so caught up in trying to hide the things about yourself you think are wrong – that you can lose touch with what you actually do feel and value.

How to Eat More Mindfully

How can you start incorporating mindful eating into your life. Engage each of your senses in unique ways!

A Snarky Size Activist and 3 Benefits of My Stupid Fitbit

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on May 25, 2016 in Full Living
I would hate my stupid step tracker even more if it wasn't working to help me increase my movement.

Beyond Bikini Madness: Parents, Daughters, and Swimsuits

Its swimsuit season and sexy bikinis are all the rage for young girls. Not sure about saying "no"? Here's help for deciding what choices are right for your family.

Learning About Addiction

A huge problem in our country is that most of the people who we trust to provide addiction treatment are poorly qualified or unqualified.

Can Women Change the Way They Compliment Each Other?

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on May 15, 2016 in Psy-curious
When women praise each other for their looks, it can actually do more harm than good.

How to Love Your Body

Are images of perfect bodies weighing you down? Some thoughts on embracing your body the way it is.

“Normal Barbie” Challenges Body Ideals

Should dolls represent 'real' people? Some believe that it is essential to resist the thin ideal.

I Am a Thin Person in an Obese Body. Not.

By Mark Borigini M.D. on May 07, 2016 in Overcoming Pain
Climbing out of the quicksand of slow metabolism.

Why Your Diet Is Making You Fat, and 3 Solutions

New research suggests that our biology fights back after weight loss. Learn what you can do to start working with your body instead of fighting against it.

Eating Disorder, Sexual Paraphilia or Something Else?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 04, 2016 in In Excess
Zoophagia is the practice of eating live animals and/or drinking their blood. But what do we know about this rare human behaviour?

5 Things You Need to Know About Your Weight

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 28, 2016 in Eating Mindfully
Feeling stuck in a dieting rut? The solution to your weight woes may be very different than you think.

Tips for Shutting Down Diet-Talk

How to set boundaries with people who are constantly talking about their latest diet attempts or are demonizing certain macronutrients.

When Healthy Eating Takes You Down an Unhealthy Road

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on April 26, 2016 in Cravings
Extreme healthy eating habits may signal an unhealthy lifestyle.

How to Eat Slower: 6 Strategies

By Susan Albers Psy.D. on April 26, 2016 in Comfort Cravings
We've all heard that it is important to eat slower. Here are 5 compelling reasons slow down your pace today and 6 strategies that can help make it happen.

Eating Disorders and LGBTQ

Though there are LGBTQ who may have eating disorders, therapists who decide to treat or not treat ought to have something greater in common: competency in providing treatment.

When Tradition Trumps Science

Saturated fat that naturally occurred in the diet was never bad for us. How did we fall off the edge of the map?

How to Choose a Therapist

Beware of therapists who are too identified with a therapy “brand.” They have already decided how to treat you before they have met you, let alone understand you.

Should Obesity Really Be Classified As A Disease?

By Gregg McBride on April 09, 2016 in The Weight-ing Game
No matter how the medical community classifies our national (and individual) obesity issues, let’s not forget that that the real cure still comes from inside ourselves.

A Table Topic: Removing Toxic Relationships

Negative relationships can influence stress and exacerbate eating issues or other co-morbid disorders. In other words, toxic people can make you sick. Learn how to make changes.

Do You Love Your Body?

Poor relationships with food, our bodies, and ourselves tend to develop from a perfect storm of events and feelings.

Gender Identity and Eating Disorders

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on March 31, 2016 in Eating Mindfully
New research indicates that transgendered individuals are at heightened risk for eating disorders.

How Does Metabolic Rate Really Change After Anorexia? Part 2

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 31, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
What is the relation between energy intake, bodyweight, and metabolic rate in the later stages of recovery from anorexia?

Eating Disorder Recovery and Relapse Prevention

Tips for creating a relapse prevention plan in recovery

How Does Metabolic Rate Really Change After Anorexia? Part 1

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 30, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
What is the relation between energy intake, bodyweight, and metabolic rate in recovery from anorexia?
PTSD and Its Relationship to Eating Disorders

PTSD and Its Relationship to Eating Disorders

It is estimated that at least 30% of all eating disorder sufferers have been sexually abused. Eating Disorder symptoms replay the trauma.

Mindfulness and Self-Destructive Behavior, Part III

Overcoming self-destructive behavior can feel overwhelming and painful. You deserve to understand how methods aimed at stopping the behavior actually work. (Part III)

Fat Is More Than Just Flab

White fat is more that a layer of greasy energy stores. It has a surprising amount of other actions, including the production of several very powerful hormones.

Is There a Link Between Anorexia and Narcissism?

An academic study found that ‘vulnerable’ narcissism tended to be associated with eating disorder symptoms.