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Eating Disorders

Maintaining a healthy relationship with food and a positive image of our bodies can be quite challenging. While for some of us these areas are a small but persistent personal challenge, for others these issues can lead to eating disorders, serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) emphasizes that eating disorders are real; they are not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice, and that people struggling with an eating disorder need to seek professional help. The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.

An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. NEDA lists many types of eating disorders, and new types continue to be identified through ongoing research. The most common types are:

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Inadequate food intake leading to a weight that is clearly too low.
  • Intense fear of weight gain, obsession with weight and persistent behavior to prevent weight gain.
  • Self-esteem overly related to body image.
  • Inability to appreciate the severity of the situation.

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes.
  • Self-esteem overly related to body image.


Binge Eating Disorder

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
  • Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
  • Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.


Check out the links below for more information on eating disorders, symptoms and treatment:


Information About Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association

National Institute of Mental Health

Office on Women's Health

Recommended Reading

Websites

Click here for free, anonymous screening for eating disorders or other mental health disorders.

For more information or to discuss eating disorder concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service. 


This content was last modified on: 02/05/2016

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