WHAT ARE EATING DISORDERS?
Eating disorders are common, serious illnesses that are associated with a high mortality rate and significant physical and mental complications. They typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood and, if untreated, may continue for a lifetime.
While the official definition of what is considered an eating disorder is expanding, the most widely diagnosed disorders are the following:
- Anorexia Nervosa (AN) – an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat that leads to calorie restriction and significantly low body weight.
- Bulimia Nervosa (BN) – characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behavior (self-induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting or over-exercising) hoping to avoid weight gain.
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – like bulimia nervosa, BED is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating accompanied by significant distress or lack of control over eating. However, individuals with BED do not engage in regular compensatory behaviors. BED can and does occur at any body weight, but is often associated with overweight and obesity.