February is Eating Disorders Awareness month in Canada, The United Kingdom and The United States. Eating disorders result from an interplay of genetic, social and psychological factors. Some of the most common symptoms involve self-critical beliefs, negative feelings about one's body weight, conflictual thoughts about food, and eating habits that disrupt normal body functioning. Eating Disorders can range from mild, moderate to severe - and interfere with daily life activities.
Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa~ Essentially self-starvation, this disorder involves a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight. In severe cases, anorexia can be life-threatening
Bulimia Nervosa ~ This involves repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by ways of trying to purge the food from the body or prevent expected weight gain. People can have this condition and be of normal weight.
Binge-Eating Disorder~ This is characterized by frequent episodes of overeating without purging.
Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) ~ A range of other disordered eating patterns don’t fit into the other types of eating disorders. These eating patterns are still serious, and intervention and attention are necessary.
Eating disorders can affect functioning in every system of the body, especially the heart and kidneys, and may cause lasting damage and even death. Because of the urgency of the risks associated with eating disorders, getting high-quality eating disorder treatment early on is the best way to combat the mental and physical consequences of these devastating mental illnesses.
Left unattended, eating disorders can lead to serious health problems or even death.