Eating disorders are a type of mental illness that includes disordered patterns of eating. They are extremely common with over 30 million people in the United States having an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a serious mental illness with more people dying every year from an eating disorder than any other mental illness. Several types of eating disorders exist, but the most prevalent include:
- Anorexia nervosa – A disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to shed significant weight through extreme exercise and dieting.
- Binge eating disorder – A disorder characterized by periodic episodes of extreme overeating and lack of control over eating habits. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States.
- Bulimia – A disorder characterized by cycles of overeating/bingeing followed by a physical purging to offset the excessive food intake.
- Orthorexia Nervosa – This eating disorder is not an official diagnosis but is becoming increasingly common. It is a disorder characterized by an obsession with healthy eating — food quality is obsessed over rather than food quantity as in other eating disorders.
Eating disorders negatively affect the way an individual thinks about their body and food. Certain personality traits are common to those who suffer from an eating disorder like anxiety, depression, perfectionism, overachievement, a need for acceptance, and low self-esteem. Watching for some of the early behaviors of disordered eating is helpful to prevent them from becoming a full-blown eating disorder. Individuals with disordered eating display physical, physiological, and behavioral signs to watch for. Some of the early behaviors to watch for include:
- Strict thought patterns of “good” and “bad” food
- Feeling proud of skipping meals or forgetting to eat
- Waiting until “the right time to eat”
- Forcing workouts to compensate for calories and feeling distressed if not able to exercise
- Being secretive around food (using phrases like “I’ve already eaten”)
- Feeling terrified of gaining weight, especially if already underweight
Eating disorders affect a person’s mental, physical, and behavioral health. If you or a loved one thinks they may be affected by an eating disorder, it is crucial to seek help since eating disorders are the most deadly mental illness. Avalon Malibu provides a beautiful refuge for an individual to discover their true self, free from an eating disorder. At Avalon, we offer personalized programs combining clinical and holistic therapies that best suit your individual treatment needs. Don’t wait — get the help you need today for your eating disorder. Call us at (844) 857-5992.