Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders 

Eating disorders are serious, have many negative consequences and are potentially life-threatening. Since there is a stigma associated with eating disorders, many people suffer from them alone for many years. With treatment, eating disorders can be cured.

Food should not control anyone's life. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, seek help. Recovery is possible.

The two most commonly known eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa  and Bulimia Nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa consists of self-starvation and excessive, unhealthy weight loss.There are five primary symptoms of Anorexia:

• Inability to maintain at or above the minimally normal body weight determined by height, body type, age, and activity level.

• Intense fear of weight gain or being "fat."

• Continually feeling overweight or "fat" despite dramatic weight loss.

• Loss of menstrual periods in post-puberty women and girls.

• Extreme/obsessive concern with body weight and shape.

Anorexia Statistics

• Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition

• 90-95% of anorexia nervosa sufferers are female.

• Anorexia typically begins in early to mid-adolescence.

• 1-2% of American women suffer from anorexia

Health Consequences

Since anorexia nervosa consists of self-starvation, the body begins to shut down/slow down due to malnutrition in order to conserve energy.

Here are some medical consequences  of self-starvation:

• Low blood pressure and slow heart rate, which increases the risk for heart failure

• Osteoporosis resulting in dry, brittle bones

• Muscle loss and weakness

• Severe dehydration, which can lead to kidney failure

• Overall weakness and fatigue including fainting and dizziness

• Hair loss

• Dry skin

• Growth of a layer of hair all over the body in attempt to keep the body warm.

* Anorexia facts and statistics taken from Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention (1998). www.edap.org

For more information visit:

The National Eating Disorders Association: www.edap.org

The National Institute of Mental Health : http://www.nimh.nih.gov

The National Mental Health Association: http://www.nmha.org/

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is a cycle of bingeing and purging and has three main symptoms:

• Out of control eating/Binge eating. Eating large quantities of food in short periods of time disregarding feelings of "hunger" of "fullness."

• Following a binge with some sort of purge/compensating behavior to make up for the caloric intake which can include self induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting, or obsessive/compulsive exercise.

• Obsessive thoughts/concern with body weight and shape.

Bulimia Statistics

• 1-4% of college age women suffer from Bulimia

• 1-3% of middle and high school girls suffer from Bulimia

• 80% of all Bulimia sufferers are female.

• Sufferers are often of an average body weight.

Health Consequences

Bingeing and purging can have a many harmful effects on the body. It can disrupt the entire digestive system and lead to imbalances in the body that can affect the heart and other organs.

Some medical consequences of Bulimia include:

• Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heart beats and death

• Inflammation of the esophagus from frequent self-induced vomiting.

• Irregular bowel movements and constipation

• Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids

• Ulcers and pancreatitis

• Gastric rupture

* Bulimia facts and statistics taken from Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention (1998). www.edap.org

For more information visit:

The National Eating Disorders Association: www.edap.org

The National Institute of Mental Health : http://www.nimh.nih.gov

The National Mental Health Association: http://www.nmha.org/

Resolve Crisis Network: 1.888.7.YOU CAN (1.888.796.8226)

www.upmc.com/resolvecrisis

For on campus help, contact La Roche University Counseling Services at 412-847-2506, located in Bold Hall, 261 and 259.