An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.
The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, associated with emaciation, and bulimia nervosa, in which a person binge eats and then purges (usually through vomiting or excessive use of laxatives).
Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood.
Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders, such as depression, substance abuse or anxiety disorders.
People with eating disorders may also suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, contact us for a free psychiatric assessment.
For more information on eating disorders, visit the National Institute of Mental Health.