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

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.

How Much Exercise Is Too Much?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on June 03, 2016 in Cravings
Is exercise becoming an obsession? Too much of this good thing can hurt you.

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males

It is essential that we help clinicians as well as the larger public to grasp the unique concerns of males with eating disorders.

Keanu Reeves & Others Make PSA for World Eating Disorder Day

Celebrities voice their support for eating disorder awareness.

Food Addiction Is Really About the Need for Love

Obsessions about food or food addiction can often go along with an obsessive focus on relationships. When one is active, the other is dormant. Emptiness may be the cause of both.

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.

There Are 5 Better Ways to Eat, and You Can Start Today

Start incorporating mindful eating into your life by engaging each of your five senses in a unique way.

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.