Eating Disorder Awareness

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week, so our team at Defying Shadows decided that we would join the discussion and help raise awareness about these disorders. The following is an excerpt from a post published last year.

What are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is an illness. One that can cause serious disturbances within your everyday diet. This can mean eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. Those with eating disorders can often times start off by eating smaller or larger amounts of food until at some point, the urge to eat more or less has become spiraled out of control.Eating Disorders are real medical illness. They are also treatable. They oftentimes coexist with other illnesses including depression, substance abuse and/or anxiety disorders. Severe concern about one’s body weight or shape can be a signal of an eating disorder. Other symptoms can be life-threatening if a person does not receive proper treatment. Eating disorders can affect both genders, and often appear during the teen and young adult years, but can also develop within one’s childhood or later in life.

Four out of ten  individuals have either personally experienced an eating disorder or know someone who has. 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a method of managing their weight.

Although there are many different types and situations, we are going to discuss the most common types today.

The first type that I would like to talk about today is Anorexia Nervosa.

Those with Anorexia Nervosa often times see themselves as overweight, even when they are clearly underweight. Things like eating, food and weight control become obsessions. Those with anorexia typically weigh themselves repeatedly, portion food carefully and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Those with anorexia can also engage in binge eating followed by extreme dieting, excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, or the misuse of laxatives.

It is estimated that 1.0% to 4.2% of women have suffered from anorexia in their lifetime. Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. It is estimated that 4% of anorexic individuals die from complications of the disease. Only one third of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa in the United States obtain treatment.

The second type that I would like to talk about today is Bulimia Nervosa.

Those with Bulimia Nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feel a lack of control during these episodes. These episodes of binge eating are followed by behaviour that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, fasting, excessive exercise or a combination of these behaviours. Unlike someone with Anorexia, people with bulimia usually maintain what is considered a healthy or normal weight, while some are slightly overweight. However, like people with anorexia, they fear gaining weight and want to desperately lose weight. They are very unhappy with their body size and/or shape. Bulimic behaviour is usually done in secret because along with this behaviour comes feelings of disgust or shame.

It is estimated that up to 4% of females in the United States will have bulimia during their lifetime. 3.9% of these bulimic individuals will die. Of those practicing bulimia, only 6% obtain treatment.

The third type that I would like to talk about today is Binge-eating disorder.

People with binge-eating disorders lose control of their eating habits. Unlike someone with bulimia, the periods of binge eating are not followed by the compensatory behaviours of purging, excessive exercise or fasting. People with a binge eating disorder are often times obese and are at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. People with binge-eating disorders experience the same feelings of guilt, shame and distress about their binge eating, which can often times lead to binge eating.

2.8 % of American adults will struggle with BED during their lifetime. Close to 43% of individuals suffering from Binge Eating Disorder will obtain treatment. 2% of individuals suffering from eating disorders not otherwise specified, the former diagnosis that BED, among other forms of disordered eating) was included in under the DSM-IV) die from health complications. Close to 43% of individuals suffering from Binge Eating Disorder will obtain treatment.

Statistics found from this resource.

10407911_381659608709717_5593303683011749961_nNichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She’s working on her Marketing Diploma and has a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.

Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.

You can follow Nichole on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Linkedin.

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