🖤Mental Health Week🖤 DAY 1 Eating Disorders

Each day I will detail an illness. Some of them you’ve heard of some you haven’t but the most important thing is we recognize some of them. One illness is greater than the other just some for more information.


1. Anorexia Nervosa

People who have anorexia will deliberately restrict their food and caloric intake in order to achieve an abnormally low body weight. If left untreated, this disorder can prove fatal.

This eating disorder affects 0.4-percent of adolescents and young women. However it is estimated that more than 4-percent of all women will struggle with anorexia nervosa over the course of their lifetime.

People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. People with anorexia nervosa typically weigh themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.

Symptoms include:

Extremely restricted eating

Extreme thinness (emaciation)

A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight

Intense fear of gaining weight

Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)

Mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness

Brittle hair and nails

Dry and yellowish skin

Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)

Severe constipation

Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse

Damage to the structure and function of the heart

Brain damage

Multiorgan failure

Drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time

Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time


2. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimics tend to binge on large amounts of rich, calorie laden foods and then engage in behaviors to purge this food from their body. These behaviors can include self-induced vomiting or misuse of over the counter laxatives.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder affects 1.3-percent of adolescents and young women. An additional 0.7-percent of older women will develop this disorder over the course of their life.

People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa usually maintain what is considered a healthy or relatively normal weight.

Symptoms include:

Chronically inflamed and sore throat

Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area

Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid

Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems

Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse

Severe dehydration from purging of fluids

Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack

3. Binge Eating Disorder

This disorder is characterized by eating excessively large amounts of high calorie food in a very short period of time. The Mayo Clinic defines binge-eating disorder as “a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.”

It is estimated that 1.6-percent of women and 0.8-percent of men worldwide are afflicted by binge eating disorder. A further 0.4-percent of women middle aged and older women will develop this disorder.

One of the primary signs of binge eating disorder is that the individual will consume an abnormally large amount of food within a short time, typically a two-hour period. In some cases, MedicalNewsToday.com says, “10,000 to 20,000 calories of food may be consumed in one bout of bingeing,”

According to EatingDisorderHope.com, the reason for this bingeing is they never experience satiation “the state of being satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed.”

People with binge-eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

Symptoms include:

Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time

Eating even when you’re full or not hungry

Eating fast during binge episodes

Eating until you’re uncomfortably full

Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment

Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating

Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

4. Cognitive Distortions Associated with Anorexia

Distorted thoughts about food, weight, and body image are central to those affected by this disorder. Patients may feel they should be perfect, which gives rise to all or nothing thinking. This in turn gives rise to obsessive perfectionism in regards to attaining the “ideal” body.

Sufferers may also reject the positive in that they see all fats and calories as negative. Anorexics also tend to unfavorably compare themselves to others, label foods as fattening, and catastrophize about weight gain. If they gain a pound, it’s the end of the world and nobody will like them.

5. Physiology and Anorexia

Food is the body’s first choice of fuel. If inadequate nutrients are eaten, then the body breaks down fat stores. Once these are depleted the body begins to break down muscle tissue. This results in the production of ketones, which enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier.

When this happens, a person’s ability to think rationally is severely compromised. This is why patients suffering from extreme case of anorexia nervosa are hospitalized and force fed intravenously and with a gastric tube. Their lives are in danger, and psychotherapy will be ineffective until their weight is stabilized and ketones are no longer flooding the brain.

6. Pica

According to Wikipedia, pica “is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as paper, clay, drywall or paint.” Pica is frequently seen in developmentally challenged individuals who exhibit persistent and compulsive symptoms for more than 4 weeks.

Pica is a common disorder in children with mental disability, brain injuries, or autism.  Approximately 10 to 30-percent of children between 1 and 6-years of age are affected by this disorder.

7. Rumination Disorder

This disorder is characterized by a normal intake of food followed by immediate regurgitation into the mouth and re-chewing of the food. The food is often swallowed again and occasionally spit out. Rumination disorder is most common in infants between the ages of 3 to 12 months and cognitively impaired children.

Rumination disorder may be caused by illness, abuse, stress, or as a means to gain attention.  Rumination disorder can result in weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, halitosis, tooth decay, indigestion, and chapped lips.

Eating Disorder Hotline Listings

National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

This helpline offers support Monday–Thursday from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. EST, and Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. You can expect to receive support, information, referrals, and guidance about treatment options for either you or your loved one. You can also contact this helpline through its online chat function, available on its website. Additionally, there is an option to send a text message if you are in crisis by texting NEDA to 741741; a trained volunteer from the Crisis Text Line will get in touch with you.

Something Fishy: 1-866-418-1207

This eating disorders helpline offers treatment referrals nationwide. Its website also provides a wealth of information and resources about eating disorders and eating disorder treatment. Through its website, you can join an online chat group where you can speak to others in your shoes to gain support, advice, and hope.

Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673

This is a hotline dedicated to serving anyone in crisis. Sometimes, people with eating disorders might feel so full of shame or self-hatred that they contemplate hurting themselves. If this is true for you, this hotline offers nationwide assistance and support from volunteers specifically trained in crisis intervention. You can talk to someone day or night about anything that’s troubling you, even if it’s not related to an eating disorder. You can also call if you need referrals to eating disorder treatment centers.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: 1-630-577-1330

Currently serving people in the United States, the hotline operates Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CST, with plans for a 24/7 hotline coming soon. Trained hotline volunteers offer encouragement to those having problems around eating or binging, support for those who “need help getting through a meal,” and assistance to family members who have concerns that their loved one might have an eating disorder.

Overeaters Anonymous: 1-505-891-2664

This hotline is available to people worldwide who need a referral to an Overeaters Anonymous support meeting in their area. Contrary to popular belief, Overeaters Anonymous is not just for people who are concerned about eating too much; it is also intended for those who have anorexia, bulimia, food addiction, or any other type of eating disorder. If you are reluctant to attend an in-person meeting or are not geographically near one, its website offers you the option to participate in an online- or telephone-based support group.

Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (formerly the Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association): 1-617-558-1881

This organization offers education, information, referrals to clinicians who specialize in eating disorders, support groups, and additional services for people with eating disorders in the New England area. It also offers information about nationwide treatment centers and is available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday–Friday.

The United Way’s 211.org: Call 2-1-1

The hotline is intended for anyone living in North America who has any type of crisis or who needs help locating specific resources, including information and referrals for eating disorder treatment. Available 24/7, it can offer information and referrals to treatment organizations in your area.

Crisis Textline: Text CONNECT to 741741

Available 24/7, 365 days a year, this organization helps people with eating disorders and other mental health issues by connecting callers with trained crisis volunteers who will provide confidential advice, support, and referrals if needed.

Thursday’s Child Eating Disorders Helpline: 1-866-628-7494

This organization offers 24/7 assistance and nationwide referrals to teens with eating disorders and other mental health or crisis situations. Thursday’s Child describes its hotlines as unique in that a live person always answers the phone, as opposed to some other hotlines that might first put a person on hold. It also offers a specific helpline for anorexia and for bulimia and binge eating disorder.





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