with Eating Disorders
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders (ED) are formidable mental and physical illnesses that affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States each year. They are characterized by irregular and unhealthy eating habits and thoughts that focus around food intake, body weight, shape and image.
There is an extensive range of eating disorders that exist including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, purging disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, body dysmorphia, exercise compulsion and emotional eating. All exist on a spectrum. 50% of individuals who struggle with an ED will likely have a comorbid (co-occurring) substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder (at a rate that is five times higher than the general population).
The impact of an eating disorder:
Eating disorder behaviors can have significant and far-reaching negative consequences for both the ED sufferer and their loved ones. For adolescents and young adults struggling with the condition, it can strongly interfere with everyday life, personal growth and the opportunity for healthy independence. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Early identification and treatment are vital.