Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Why Do Girls Have Eating Disorders

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How Is Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosed

How an eating disorder develops: Madi O’Dell’s story

After ruling out that weight loss is caused by another condition, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional. This health professional will diagnose anorexia nervosa based on your thoughts, feelings and eating behaviours. They will also check for any other mental or physical complications.

Common Types Of Eating Disorders

Although the term eating is in the name, eating disorders are about more than food. Theyre complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts to alter their course.

These disorders are described in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition .

In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men have or have had an eating disorder at some point in their life .

This article describes 6 of the most common types of eating disorders and their symptoms.

Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop. They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape.

In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death if left untreated.

Those with eating disorders can have a variety of symptoms. However, most include the severe restriction of food, food binges, or purging behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising.

Although eating disorders can affect people of any gender at any life stage, theyre most often reported in adolescents and young women. In fact, up to 13% of youth may experience at least one eating disorder by the age of 20 .

Summary Eating disorders are mental health conditions marked by an obsession with food or body shape. They can affect anyone but are most prevalent among young women.

Summary Of Studies Done In India

Most of the early literature on eating disorders have been in the form of case reports and chart review, which have demonstrated that various forms of eating disorders do exists in our population. This was not followed by any population-based epidemiological study hence, the prevalence of these disorders in our country is currently unknown. Recent studies have shown that abnormal eating behaviors and weight concern is common among the student population and cross-cultural studies have shown that it may be nearly equal to that of Western nations. The clinical presentation of eating disorders in India is similar to that of other developing nations, with the absence of weight concern in most of the reported cases. This has both diagnostic and treatment implications, as models of psychotherapy which focus on weight concern may not be applicable in this population.

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What Can You Do

Even though eating disorders are very serious and not to be taken lightly, they are very treatable. If you or a loved one is battling an eating disorder, seeking treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Fairwinds is the leading treatment center in Florida for eating disorders. Our compassionate team treats each patient like family in a warm and welcoming atmosphere to help you get to the root of the problem and heal the body as a whole physically, emotionally, and mentally. Contact us today for more information on our treatment programs for eating disorders.

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Eating Disorders And Youth

Eating Disorders Counseling  Dr. Adina Silvestri

Eating disorders are marked by a variety of emotional, physical, and behavioural changes. While some of the behaviours may appear to be little more than teenage dieting and body dissatisfaction, taken together they can indicate a serious, life-threatening eating disorder. The average age of onset for eating disorders is 12- to 13-years-old , with eating disorder specialists reporting an increase in the diagnosis of children, some as young as five or six.

Its important for parents, relatives and school personnel to be aware of risk factors and symptoms of eating disorders so they can take steps to address these issues early to ensure the best possible outcomes for the young person affected.

See below for more information and resources about eating disorders and young people.

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How Does Anorexia Affect A Womans Health

With anorexia, your body doesnt get the energy that it needs from food, so it slows down and stops working normally. Over time, anorexia can affect your body in the following ways:

  • Heart problems, including low blood pressure, a slower heart rate, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and sudden death from heart problems
  • Anemia and other blood problems
  • Thinning of the bones
  • Kidney stones or kidney failure
  • Lack of periods, which can cause problems getting pregnant
  • During pregnancy, a higher risk for miscarriage, cesarean delivery, or having a baby with low birth weight

Anorexia is a serious illness that can also lead to death. Studies have found that more women and girls die from anorexia than any other eating disorder or serious mental health problem such as depression. Many people with anorexia also have other mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.

Long-term studies of 20 years or more show that women who had an eating disorder in the past usually reach and maintain a healthy weight after treatment.

What Insurance Does The Hospital Take

If you are being admitted to one of our hospital-based programs, both Inpatient and Partial Hospitalization, our business office will verify your benefits beforehand, and the admissions coordinator will contact you with information about your coverage. Admission to our program in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry qualifies as a mental health hospitalization and will be authorized under the mental health portion of your insurance, not the medical portion. Please see the Admissions page for more information.

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Foster A Healthy Relationship With Food

You can encourage older children and adolescents to develop a healthy relationship with food if you:

  • Try not to label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ this sets up cravings and feelings of guilt when the ‘bad’ foods are eaten.
  • Avoid using food as a reward, or for bribes or punishment.
  • Accept that children are likely to have different eating habits from adults for instance, adolescents may require more food more frequently during the day or may go through periods of liking or disliking particular foods.
  • Avoid going on diets and do not try to put your child on a diet.
  • Allow your child to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Do not force your child to eat everything that is on their plate.

The Role Of The Media In The Treatment And Prevention Of Eating Disorders

Why Eating Disorders Are About So Much More Than Food

Much of the literature on the role of the media in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders has focused on media literacy, activism, and advocacy . Media literacy training involves teaching people to think critically about different forms of the media, increasing awareness of media use, and analyzing the content and intentions of the media producers. Through media literacy, adolescent girls learn how to decode and discuss the visual images and the messages in the media they learn that all media images are constructed, that what they see is not necessarily reality, and that all media creations represent a point of view . Media literacy usually emphasizes that all forms of media are created through very deliberate, well-researched processes that are primarily profit-driven .

Researchers have also focused on ways to combat the risk factors that make certain individuals more vulnerable to the medias negative effects. It has been suggested that treatment programs for eating disorders will be most effective when they incorporate media literacy with strategies to help address the patients deficits in self-esteem and social skills .

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What Are Potential Treatment Options For Eating Disorders

While a high-quality treatment program that specializes in eating disorders offers the best chances for long-term successful recovery, the exact mode of treatment will depend on both the type of eating disorder and the person.


  • Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy helps you identify self-destructive patterns of thought and behavior and replace them with healthier ones.
  • Through cognitive behavioral therapy, you explore the complex issues underlying an eating disorder and learn how to identify and control your mood as well as monitor your eating. You also develop an arsenal of skills, techniques, and strategies to cope with triggers such as stress.
  • Family therapy may also be used to address dysfunction in the family and educate family members about eating disorders and how they can provide support throughout the recovery process.

Nutrition education

  • Repairing the damage done by an eating disorder and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the primary goals of recovery.
  • Dietitians and other healthcare professionals design an eating plan to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and develop normal eating habits.


  • While no medication can cure an eating disorder, some may help curb food cravings and control urges to binge or purge.
  • If a mental illness such as anxiety or depression is one of the underlying causes of the eating disorder, medication will likely be prescribed to help manage it.


Why Are Women More Vulnerable To Eating Disorders Brain Study Sheds Light

Eating disorders are much more common among women than men. Now, a new study may have uncovered a neurological explanation for this disparity. Researchers find that women are more likely than men to experience brain activity relating to negative body perception.

Lead author Dr. Catherine Preston, of the Department of Psychology at York University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues publish their findings in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association , around 30 million people in the United States have some form of eating disorder, and around 20 million of these are women.

Popular notion has long held that women are more concerned with body image than men, and previous studies have shown that women are more likely than men to have body dissatisfaction.

Thus, this susceptibility to body dissatisfaction may be an important factor underlying the higher rates of eating disorders in women, say the authors.

When it comes to negative perceptions of physical appearance, social pressures are believed to play a key role. Since women tend to be more susceptible to such pressures, this may explain in part why eating disorders affect women more than men.

However, previous studies have shown that in some eating disorders, particularly anorexia, patients overestimate their body size that is, they perceive themselves to be larger in size than they actually are.

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What Is An Eating Disorder

To understand why people get eating disorders, we first have to describe what an eating disorder actually is. Many people have odd eating habits but a true eating disorder is extreme shape and weight control behaviour which in turn is caused by excessive concerns about your weight. Most people with eating disorders have poor self worth and perfectionist opinions about how they should look and what they should weigh. Their need to be perfect often extends into other areas of their life. People with eating disorders also complain a great deal about feeling fat. Many people without an eating disorder have fat days too. In someone with eating distress, this is usually emotional experience such as anger or anxiety which is not being recognised.

Difference Between Disordered Eating And Eating Disorders

What Age Do Eating Disorders Begin? It

Feeling guilty for eating when you are hungry is like feeling guilty for breathing when your lungs need oxygen. We have been taught to be ashamed of our basic human needs. Refuse to feel shame. You are allowed to eat.

In todays society, we are inundated by food fads, trendy diets, technology apps that record our every move and calorie burned, and the pressure from society to lose weight to be viewed as beautiful.

So, what happens when we become obsessed with this culture and where do we draw the line to differentiate disordered eating and eating disorders? To understand the abnormal, we must first understand what the normal standard is.

There is a lot of controversy regarding what the standard daily calorie consumption is for adults. Still, the Food and Drug Administration has based the daily diet on a 2,000 daily caloric intake, which should include adequate servings of fruits and vegetables and proteins and minimal servings of carbohydrates and fats.

In other words, eating three balanced meals a day is the standard diet in the United States. Additionally, normalized, non-disordered eating is when individuals consume food when they are hungry and can stop eating once they are full. When individuals begin to consume food out of boredom or stress, normalized eating becomes a problem.

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What Are The Warning Signs Of Anorexia

  • Deliberate self-starvation with weight loss.
  • Fear of gaining weight.
  • Refusal to eat or skipping meals.
  • Denial of hunger.
  • Greater amounts of hair on the body or the face.
  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures.
  • Absent or irregular periods in girls or women.
  • Loss of scalp hair.
  • A self-perception of being fat when the person is really too thin.

Lgbtq+ Eating Disorder Statistics

  • Gay men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating and twelve times more likely to report purging than heterosexual men.6
  • Gay and bisexual boys are significantly more likely to fast, vomit, or take laxatives or diet pills to control their weight.6
  • Transgender college students report experiencing disordered eating at approximately four times the rate of their cisgender classmates.7
  • 32% of transgender people report using their eating disorder to modify their body without hormones.8
  • 56% of transgender people with eating disorders believe their disorder is not related to their physical body.8
  • Gender dysphoria and body dissatisfaction in transgender people is often cited as a key link to eating disorders.7
  • Non-binary people may restrict their eating to appear thin, consistent with the common stereotype of androgynous people in popular culture.7

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The Influence Of Abuse And Trauma On Eating Disorders

Abuse, trauma, and specifically childhood sexual abuse are often proposed as major risk factors for the development of eating disorders, but what is the true connection? One study found that about 30% of eating disordered patients has been sexually abused in childhood. These rates are higher among those who suffer from bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder as opposed to those with anorexia nervosa. However, it is important to keep in mind that correlation is not the same as causation. Abuse is a nonspecific risk factor, which means it can lead to a variety of psychiatric problems, including eating disorders but also anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that there are certainly many people who experience abuse without developing an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder. The spectrum of traumatic experiences extends beyond sexual abuse and includes other forms of victimization, trauma, and neglect.

Research indicates that certain forms of childhood sexual abuse are particularly detrimental to mental health, specifically attempted or completed intercourse, the use of threats or force, abuse by a relative, and a negative response by someone who is informed about the abuse.

Losing A Grasp On Logic

Mayo Clinic Minute: 5 signs your teen might have an eating disorder

Growing up in Tulsa, Nate Nahmias plumped up in middle school, the inevitable consequence of a sedentary video-gaming life and side effects of a doctors prescription. He finally decided to do something about it, and restricted calories. By age 16, he was anorexic.

Id have this goal Id want to weigh X amount, but in order to make sure that I didnt break that goal and go the wrong way, I needed to kind of overshoot it a little bit, he said. And then overshooting just went to more and more and more and more, so I just kept dropping and dropping and dropping.

A starving brain loses a grasp on logic. One now famous study took place at the University of Minnesota in the 1940s among 36 men who were conscientious objectors during World War II. For six months, they ate fewer than 1,800 calories a day, a level that reflected conditions in parts of war-torn Europe. They walked 22 miles each week.

Even though the calorie restriction was voluntary, the men developed symptoms often seen with eating disorders, such as depression and flirtations with suicide. Some lost the ability to think rationally two were hospitalized for psychiatric concerns. One man cut off three of his fingers.

I continued to lift despite the intense pain. Thats the craziness of this disorder.

Andrew Walen, a Maryland therapist

on his former obsession with weight-lifting

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General Eating Disorder Statistics

  • Eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide.1
  • 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.2
  • Less than 6% of people with eating disorders are medically diagnosed as underweight.1
  • 28-74% of risk for eating disorders is through genetic heritability.1
  • Eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose.1
  • 10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorderthats one death every 52 minutes.2
  • About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide.1
  • The economic cost of eating disorders is $64.7 billion every year.2

What Has Changed In The Pandemic

There are several possible explanations for this tsunami of eating concerns in teenagers. When adolescents lost the familiar rhythm of the school day and were distanced from the support of their friends, many of the things that structured a teenagers life evaporated in one fell swoop, said Dr. Walter Kaye, a psychiatrist and the founder and executive director of the eating disorders program at the University of California, San Diego. People who end up with eating disorders tend to be anxious and stress sensitive they dont do well with uncertainty.

Further, eating disorders have long been linked with high achievement. Driven adolescents who might have normally poured their energy into their academic, athletic or extracurricular pursuits suddenly had too much time on their hands. Some kids turned their attention toward physical health or appearance as a way to cope with anxiety or feel productive, Dr. Accurso said. Their goals around healthy eating or getting in shape got out of hand and quickly caused significant weight loss.

In many households the pandemic has heightened food insecurity and its attendant anxieties, which can increase the risk of eating disorders. Research shows that, compared to teenagers whose families have enough food, those in homes where food is scarce are more likely to fast, to skip meals, and to abuse laxatives and diuretics with the aim of controlling their weight.

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