Wednesday, June 12, 2024

What Are The Health Risks Of Eating Disorders

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How Is Nimh Addressing Eating Disorders

Study shows men, like women, also at risk for eating disorders

The National Institute of Mental Health is conducting and supporting research that could help find new and improved ways to diagnose and treat eating disorders. For example, the NIMH Eating Disorders Research Program supports research on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment at medical institutions across the country. It also supports studies that can help explain the risk factors that cause eating disorders to start or reoccur. The programs studies on treatment help move basic science findings from the lab bench to a patients bedside.

Health Risks Associated With Binge Eating Disorder

Some people spend decades frustrated at their lack of ability to stop bingeing. And the health risks associated with binge eating disorder are very real:

  • Weight gain/obesity

  • Type II diabetes mellitus

  • Emotional and mental distress

Most of the physical consequences of binge eating disorder listed above can be reversed through diet and exercise. However, if you do not get help for the emotional issues related to binge eating, issues related to body image, or your relationship with food, you may continue to struggle for a very long time.

How Is An Eating Disorder Treated

Treatment depends on the eating disorder, its cause, and your overall health. Your doctor may evaluate your nutritional intake, refer you to a mental health professional, or hospitalize you if your disorder has become life-threatening.

In some cases, psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or family therapy, can help address the social or emotional issues that may be causing your disorder.

Theres no medication that can fully treat an eating disorder. But some medications can help control symptoms of the anxiety or depressive disorder that may be causing or aggravating your eating disorder. These can include anti-anxiety medicines or antidepressants.

Reducing your stress through yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques can also help you control your eating disorder.

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Getting Help For Anorexia

Getting help and support as soon as possible gives you the best chance of recovering from anorexia.

If you think you may have anorexia, even if you’re not sure, see a GP as soon as you can.

They will ask you questions about your eating habits and how you’re feeling, and will check your overall health and weight.

They may also refer you for some blood tests to make sure your weight loss is not caused by something else.

If they think you may have anorexia, or another eating disorder, they should refer you to an eating disorder specialist or team of specialists.

It can be very hard to admit you have a problem and to ask for help. It may make things easier if you bring a friend or loved one with you to your appointment.

You can also talk in confidence to an adviser from eating disorders charity Beat by calling its adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

Is There A Test Or Self

What are the health risks of eating disorders?

If you are concerned about your food intake beyond a level that seems reasonable, this might be a sign that you have developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Given the gravity of the conditions involved, there really is no downside to seeking professional advice on the matter. Since people with addiction-type disorders often have trouble assessing themselves objectively, it is usually considered best to leave the official diagnosis up to an expert medical practitioner who is familiar with such disorders.

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Mental Health Treatment Locator

For more information, resources, and research on mental illnesses, visit the NIMH website at . The National Library of Medicines MedlinePlus website also has information on a wide variety of mental disorders.

For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline at 1800662HELP . SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location.

Encourage Older Children And Adolescents To Feel Good About Their Bodies

There are lots of ways to help your children feel good about their bodies, including:

  • Show an acceptance of different body shapes and sizes, including your own.
  • Make a positive effort to portray your own body as functional and well-designed.
  • Demonstrate healthy eating and engage in physical activity for health and enjoyment.
  • Don’t criticise or tease your children about their appearance.
  • Encourage your children to ‘listen’ to their bodies and to become familiar with different physical feelings and experiences.
  • Encourage sport and regular exercise to help maintain your child’s health and fitness and foster their body confidence.

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What Are Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a persons eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may be signs of an eating disorder. These disorders can affect a persons physical and mental health in some cases, they can be life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Learning more about them can help you spot the warning signs and seek treatment early.

Remember: Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically-influenced medical illnesses.

The Risk Factors For Forming An Eating Disorder

BINGE EATING DISORDER Effects | Risks of Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Today we are bombarded with messages telling us that dieting, and exercise, are good for us and will make us live longer. While there is no denying that this is true when done in moderation to improve health, what happens when something goes wrong and the drive to be healthy becomes something else altogether?

There are many risk factors that may cause an eating disorder to form, including:

Having a close relative with an eating disorder. Research has discovered that eating disorders are closely related to genetic mutations that are inheritable and passed from parent to child.

Having a history of see-saw dieting. Losing and gaining significant amounts of weight can also be a risk factor because the person may eventually fall into disordered eating.

Having type I diabetes. Research has discovered that around one-fourth of women diagnosed with type one diabetes will develop an eating disorder. The most common is called diabulimia which involves skipping insulin injections. Missing insulin injections can be deadly.

Being a perfectionist. An incredibly strong risk factor for forming an ED is having self-oriented perfectionism. This disorder involves setting unrealistic expectations of oneself which can lead to disgust for oneself which in turn drives an eating disorder.

Dissatisfaction with ones body. While all of us are dissatisfied with how our body looks at times, people with eating disorders have a warped sense that their body is ugly.

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Losing Weight With Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating can lead to weight gain and make it tough to shed extra pounds and keep them off for good. As part of their treatment, people with binge eating disorder may need help with that. Traditional weight loss programs may help, but some people struggle with strict diets. Ask your doctor whether you could benefit from a specialized weight-loss program for people with eating disorders.

Weight Gain And Obesity

Weight gain is common when you binge eat. Two-thirds of those with the disorder are overweight. You put on extra pounds by eating lots of food in a short period of time and not burning the calories off with exercise.

A lot of people who binge feel bad about their weight, too. This leads to low self-esteem, which can cause more overeating. Being overweight or obese can also raise your chances of getting long-term health problems such as:

  • Breathing that stops many times during the night
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis

How to Watch for It

Your clothes will start to feel snug. The numbers on your bathroom scale will go up. Your doctor will check to see how much body fat you have by measuring:

  • The ratio of your weight to your height
  • How big your belly is using a tape measure placed above your hips and around the middle of your body

You will get tests to check your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels — all of which can be harmed by weight gain.

What to Do About It

Treatment for binge eating starts with figuring out why you’re overeating. You need to do this before you try to lose weight. Your doctor and therapist can help you get started. Next, plan to talk to a dietitian to come up with a diet and exercise program you can stick with. Ask them for tips on how you can stay at a healthy weight.

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What Is An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders revolve around abnormal eating habits and often include physical changes.

For some, eating disorders involve limiting the amount of food that is consumed for others, it involves uncontrollable eating. Some people with eating disorders become obsessed with diet and exercise. Others will eat large quantities of food and then vomit.

There is no single demographic at risk for eating disorders theyre diseases that can occur in people of any gender, race, religion, or socio-economic background.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health And Emotions

Eating disorders don

Eating disorders can cause serious problems throughout the body.

Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by undernutrition and low body weight, such as:

  • low blood pressure
  • feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
  • constipation and bloating

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Find Help For An Eating Disorder

The information above may have you feeling frightened or concerned for the future long-term physical and mental health of yourself or a loved one. While you should absolutely understand and take seriously the above long-term consequences of eating disorder behaviors, do not allow it to make you feel hopeless. These disorders are all treatable and curable and it is possible to reach out for help and receive the support needed to renew the body.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, contact a primary care physician and ask them for support in finding an eating disorder professional and treatment center that can provide an assessment of needs and subsequent care.

There is always hope for recovery because recovery is always possible.


American Journal of Psychiatry National Institute of Mental HealthJournal of Eating Disorders, South Carolina Department of Mental Health

Page Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 28, 2021 Published on

Emotional Symptoms Of An Eating Disorder

The emotional symptoms of an eating disorder are as varied as the causes, and they can sometimes have consequences that are as serious as the underlying disorder from which they spring. If you are feeling the effects of what you think may be an eating disorder, dont hesitate to reach out for help call us at as soon as you can.

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The Long Term Health Risks Of Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa is taken very seriously in the mental health community because the damage it inflicts extends to nearly every part of the body. These effects can range from minor infections and poor general health to serious life threatening medical problems. Because it often strikes young people, some of these conditions may carry over into adulthood and last an entire lifetime.

A lot of people -parents, and even some doctors- think that medical complications of anorexia only happen when youre so thin youre wasting away,Rebecka Peebles, MD, a specialist in adolescent medicine at the Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital, told WebMD: Practitioners need to understand that a good therapist is only part of the treatment for anorexia and other eating disorders, and that these clients need treatment from a medical doctor as well.

Boys And Girls Experience Eating Disorders

The Physical and Emotional Effects of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are more likely to affect females than males. However, about 25 per cent of cases in adolescents occur with males. Girls and boys can experience different social pressures about how they should look. Primary school-aged children are not immune to these pressures, and their attitudes and behaviours reflect adult concerns.Like many adult females, some girls want to lose weight and be thin. Like many adult males, some boys want to lose body fat, but increase muscle mass. Some boys try to meet unrealistically thin ideal standards.

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Dual Diagnosis: Addiction And Eating Disorders

Victims of eating disorders often display many of the same traits that have been observed in substance abusers. People with eating disorders often describe their compulsions in language thats very similar to that used by an addict, and many will persist in their destructive behaviors despite escalating negative consequences for doing so. This is the working definition of an addictive disorder.

Its no surprise then that many of the patients who report for the treatment of an eating disorder will also need treatment for a chemical dependency or behavior issue such as sexual compulsion or gambling addiction. These secondary issues may be treated in the standard manner with an initial period of detoxification followed by CBT.

Dieting Increases The Risk Of Developing Eating Disorders

Dieting is common among adolescents and normalised by society, but it is not a healthy behaviour and should not be considered a normal part of being an adolescent. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa can be triggered by dieting. A person who crash diets , substantially increases their risk of developing an eating disorder. Adolescents should not be encouraged to go on a diet.

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What Causes Eating Disorders

There’s no single cause for eating disorders. Genes, environment, and stressful events all play a role. Some things can increase a person’s chance of having an eating disorder, such as:

  • poor body image
  • too much focus on weight or looks
  • dieting at a young age
  • playing sports that focus on weight
  • having a family member with an eating disorder
  • mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or OCD

Social Complications Of Eating Disorders

Health Effects

Eating disorders disrupt family dynamics. Members of the family may blame each other for the eating disorder. The costs of hospitalization and stays in rehab centers may disrupt family savings for college educations and retirement. They may fight over the expense of treatment. Younger siblings may feel neglected or deprived and become resentful of the older sibling that has the eating disorder, or an older sibling may feel that family resources that could support their success and enjoyment of life are going to treat the younger sibling who chooses to have an eating disorder.

Young athletes who have eating disorders face tensions at home and tensions in the gym. An athlete who hides symptoms of an eating disorder from family may also hide symptoms of an eating disorder from the coach. When the coach discovers the eating disorder, a decision has to be made about how to inform the parents. This can create tensions at practice It can inspire devious behavior by other athletes seeking the position on the team held by the person with the eating disorder.

Friendships and romantic relationships may be destroyed. The person who has the eating disorder may become anxious, depressed, and emotionally distant. Or they may become controlling in a passive-aggressive manner.

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A Breakdown Of The Health Effects From Eating Disorders

The health effects of eating disorders are not as one might think, in the positive. After all, we are bombarded with messages telling us that exercise and weight loss will help us live longer. However, in eating disorders, this message becomes distorted in the minds of those who form them.

Eating disorders have many dire consequences to the body including gastrointestinal, neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, and mortality changes.

Gastrointestinal Changes

Vomiting. Vomiting can wear down the esophagus or cause it to rupture which is a life-threatening occurrence. Vomiting can also lead to less threatening symptoms such as chronically sore throats and hoarseness. Both vomiting and abuse of laxatives will cause dehydration that can become serious if not enough fluids are drunk to replace those lost.

Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis means slowed digestion which can be caused by food restriction or purging via vomiting which interferes with stomach emptying and the absorption of nutrients. Gastroparesis can lead to stomach pain and bloating, blood sugar fluctuations, malnutrition, and a blocked intestine which is a life-threatening emergency.

Perforation and Rupture. Binge eating can cause a perforation of the bowel or stomach rupture Both are life-threatening conditions.

Nerve Damage. Abusing laxatives may damage the nerve endings in the bowels leaving them totally dependent on laxatives to evacuate feces from the body.

Neurological Changes

Endocrine System Changes

It’s Different From Bulimia

Bulimia and binge eating disorder aren’t the same, although they share some symptoms. People with bulimia also regularly overeat, and they may feel the same negative emotions, such as a loss of control, shame, or guilt. The key difference is that people with bulimia “purge” afterward. They might make themselves vomit, use laxatives or diuretics, or exercise too much. Purging is not part of binge eating disorder.

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It’s Never Too Late To Seek Help

If you have an eating disorder, it’s important to recognize the seriousness of your condition. If you are interested in learning more about treatment for eating disorders, please call us at 877-825-8584 to schedule a free confidential consultation with an Eating Recovery Center Masters-level clinician.

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval have met or exceeded The Joint Commissions rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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