Eating disorders are medical illnesses. They may have both physical and mental health aspects. Most eating disorders fall into one of three main categories.
If left untreated, eating disorders can lead to severe physical health issues that include organ failure, brain damage, loss of bone mass, and cardiovascular damage.
According to the NIMH, the exact cause of eating disorders is not 100% clear. However, numerous factors can put someone at increased risk, including:
Eating disorders are often secretive in nature. People binge eat when others aren’t looking or slip into the restroom to throw up in secret. Someone caught in this struggle can feel isolated and alone, but it’s important to realize that you’re not alone if you’re dealing with these issues. Consider some of the facts and statistics about eating disorders below.
If you’re dealing with eating disorders, getting help as soon as possible can improve your chances of long-term positive outcomes in the future. According to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 20% of anorexia deaths are a result of suicide. As many as half of eating disorder patients also deal with other diagnoses, including mood disorders or depression. In short, eating disorders can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health if left untreated.
The symptoms of eating disorders depend on which type of disorder you’re dealing with, but they include behavioral and physical signs. If you or a loved one have any of the following signs, it may be time to speak with a medical professional.
The right treatment for an eating disorder depends on factors that are unique to the situation, so it’s important to seek guidance from medical professionals. Some options for treatment include:
Depending on the severity of an eating disorder and what mental and physical health complications are present, treatment might begin in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
This guide is intended as an informational resource only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or treatment recommendations regarding eating disorders. If you believe you or someone you love is dealing with an eating disorder, please talk to your doctor or another medical professional for assistance in understanding your treatment options and what help you may need.