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OVERCOMING EATING DISORDERS: Bulimarexia, Hypheragia & Treatment

Updated: May 20, 2023

Eating disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by a persistent disturbance in eating or eating-related behavior, which results in the alteration of an individual's consumption or absorption of food. This specific disorder includes practices that disrupt one’s eating patterns. Examples include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc. The onset of this disorder may come from specific trauma or subjective and situational. This disorder can affect both weight, overall personal health, and mental stress.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) states that eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide. They also believe that 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose.  it is believed that 10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder—that’s one death every 52 minutes. About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide. We need to stay informed in order to make a difference.

1. Anorexia nervosa: a condition characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, and severe restriction of food intake, leading to significant weight loss.

2. Bulimia nervosa: a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics, or excessive exercise.

3. Binge-eating disorder: a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without purging behaviors.

4. Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED): a condition that does not meet the full criteria for any of the above disorders but still causes significant distress and impairment in daily functioning.

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights, although they are most commonly diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. They often co-occur with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

Treatment for eating disorders typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and medical monitoring. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and family-based therapy are effective forms of therapy for eating disorders. Antidepressant medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms. Treatment may also involve nutritional counseling and medical monitoring to address any physical complications that may arise from the disorder.

If you, or someone you know, struggles with an

eating disorder… please seek a mental health professional. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support. There is hope. Take your mental health seriously.

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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