Body image is the mental representation that one creates in their mind, but it may or may not relate to how others see an individual. The skewed view that someone has of their body is a culprit affecting people across the globe, where ethnicity, culture, gender, and age may all fall prey to it. According to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), about 30 million Americans suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Eating disorders hold a record for having the highest mortality rate when compared to other mental illnesses; someone dies of an eating disorder every 62 minutes.
Types of Eating Disorders
There are copious numbers of eating disorders and, unfortunately, the statistics mentioned above don’t begin to scratch the surface. Here are few examples of eating disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa: People reduce the amount of energy intake required for their weight, age, gender, development and physical health.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Individuals consume large amounts of food, and then induce themselves to vomit or use laxatives to stop weight gain.
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED): Eating large amounts of food in small periods of time.
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) 14: Children are not just finicky when it comes to this disorder, but they become malnourished because they restrict themselves from eating certain foods.
- Diabulimia: People with Type 1 diabetes purposely underuse insulin to control their weight.
Like other mental disorders and illnesses, care should involve a diverse team of experts. It’s recommended that professional caretakers include the following:
- Mental health professional (Social Worker, Psychologist, Counselor)
- Primary care physician
Due to the severe toll that eating disorders may have on an individual’s physical health, psychological therapy is not enough. It’s also important, if possible, to incorporate family therapy and support groups. Family-Based Treatment, according to NEDA, is a method used for patients who are minors.
In extreme cases, inpatient care may be necessary; the person suffering from the eating disorder may need hospitalization or placement in residential care.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, please feel free to call me at (216) 703-5523. The national helpline number is: 1-800-931-2237. An eating disorder is a serious medical and health concern that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.