Eating disorders can affect anyone and symptoms include body dysmorphia, unusual eating behaviors, and serious medical issues. With treatment, complete recovery is possible.
Eating disorders are a serious and sometimes fatal illness that can affect either gender, all ages, all races/ethnicities, and any body weight. It is estimated that approximately 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder. Typical symptoms include preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape, and disturbances in people’s eating behaviors. Some of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Symptoms typically appear during the teen years or early adulthood, although occasionally appearing in childhood or later in life. Rates are higher in women, but men who suffer may also have body dysmorphia, or a distorted sense of body image.
Because suicidal thoughts and medical complications can occur in people with eating disorders, it is recommended that treatment is sought early. Accompanying mental disorders can appear as well, including depression and anxiety, and early treatment is beneficial. Under medical supervision, complete recovery is possible. Effective treatments may include psychotherapy (individual, group, or family), nutrition counseling, medical care (hospitalization when severe), and medication.