This article was first published at The Doctor Weighs In on Feb. 24, 2017.

Over 30 million people in the United States will suffer from a life-threatening eating disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Eating disorders are a serious psychiatric illness, where patients frequently battle a myriad of symptoms—physical, emotional, and behavioral—and share extreme beliefs about food, weight, and body image. It is not a “lifestyle choice”, a desire to be thin or achieve a certain weight.
Matt Keck, MFT, Clinical Director and Founder of Cielo House, a group of comprehensive treatment centers for eating disorders located in Northern California stated,
“90% of eating disorder patients also struggle with a co-occurring mental health problem. Eating disorders have close connections to substance abuse, trauma, and other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).”

Who is at risk
Eating disorders may affect anyone regardless of age or gender. A person’s risk of developing an eating disorder depends on a number of factors which include psychological, physical, social, and environmental. Your risk of developing an eating disorder may be higher if a family member has had one, as eating disorders tend to run in families. A recent study conducted by Boston University Medical Center discovered a genetic risk factor for binge eating.
While women are more prone to eating disorders, adolescent boys, middle-aged women, and elderly males may also develop some form of eating disorder. Like women, men who have an eating disorder may experience a distorted self-body image or another condition called “muscle dysmorphia, a type of disorder marked by an extreme concern with becoming more muscular.”

Types of eating disorders
There are many forms of eating disorders. They all share a commonality in that they are characterized by extreme behaviors and attitudes surrounding food and weight issues. The most common types are … Continue reading at The Doctor Weighs In

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