This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the United States. Eating disorders are serious mental health issues that can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications. Despite being commonly associated with women, men can also develop eating disorders; studies suggest 1 in 20 people—30 million Americans—are affected by an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
There are three different conditions that we qualify as eating disorders:
Anorexia Nervosa is when a person denies themselves food to the point of self-starvation in the obsessive pursuit of weight loss. People with anorexia will deny hunger and refuse to eat, and may practice binge eating and purging or exercise to the point of exhaustion. Emotional symptoms include irritability, social withdrawal, lack of emotion, fear of eating in public, and obsessions with food and exercise. Food rituals are often developed, or whole categories of food will be eliminated from the person’s diet out of fear of getting “fat”. Low food intake and inadequate nutrition causes the patient to become very thin, forcing the body to slow down