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Eating Disorder Awareness Week

written by Leah McCabe Written by Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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February 10, 2022 Read Time - 5 minutes

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week kicked off this Monday, February 24th. Eating disorders affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States alone.

Eating Disorder Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of conditions, provide resources to those who need help, and to teach the average person how to identify symptoms in themselves or others.

In this article, we will go over some of the most common eating disorders, common treatment plans, and how to tell if someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder.

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What Is An Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are conditions that result in severe disturbances to eating habits, emotions, and self image. Eating disorders lead to unhealthy habits which harm the body, and cause emotional trauma.

Types Of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa 

What is anorexia? Anorexia nervosa is diagnosed when patients weigh a minimum of 15 percent less than the healthy expected weight at their height.

Anorexia is a condition in which patients do not maintain a normal weight because of abnormal eating habits.

Signs of anorexia include:

  • Not eating enough even when hungry
  • Fear of being fat
  • Problems with body image
  • Excessive exercise
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself after eating
  • Feeling fat despite others telling you that you are skinny

People suffering from anorexia suffer a range of symptoms as a result of not eating enough.

These may include:

  • Depression
  • Easily Irritated
  • Menstrual periods cease
  • Hair/nails become brittle
  • Visible shrinkage of muscles
  • Severe constipation
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Drop in blood pressure

Click here to take a quiz to help learn more about anorexia signs and symptoms. While this quiz is not a diagnostic tool it may identify anorexic tendencies.

Bulimia Nervosa

What is bulimia? Unlike anorexia, individuals with bulimia nervosa can be underweight, normal weight or overweight.

Patients with bulimia binge eat frequently, eating enormous amounts of food often to the point of feeling sick. During binge eating, sufferers often feel powerless or out of control, unable to stop themselves from eating which may result in the desire to self-induce vomit.

Symptoms which should raise red flags of bulimia include:

  • Chronically inflamed or sore throat
  • Puffy cheeks and face as a result of swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw
  • Tooth decay a result of stomach acid in the mouth after vomiting
  • Laxative abuse
  • Severe dehydration from purging

Binge Eating Disorder

Like bulimia, people suffering from binge eating disorders consume enormous amounts of food during a brief period in which they experience a lack of control. Unlike bulimia patients, those with a binge eating disorder do not attempt to purge the food from their body afterwards.

Binge eating is a chronic disorder and can lead to severe health complications such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

Signs of binge eating disorder include:

  • Eating large amounts of food rapidly
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food even when not feeling hungry
  • Eating alone because of embarrassment for eating habits
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, especially after meals
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.


Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders blur the line between emotional and physical health. Eating disorders often arise out of emotional feelings of insecurity, poor body image, depression or boredom.

For those suffering from anorexia, the first step of treatment is the return the patient to a healthy weight.

For those suffering from bulimia, the first step of treatment is to end the binge-purge cycle.

For those suffering from binge eating, the first step of treatment is to learn techniques to resist and interrupt binges. 

These are difficult processes which must be highly tailored to the individual because of their underlying emotional origins.

Restoring a person to normal weight, or breaking a harmful eating cycle requires a patient to address and improve the emotional factors which invoke poor eating habits.

Therapy is one way individuals find relief from emotions which trigger these disorders, and some medications have been proven to help the treatment process.

With PlushCare, you can set up an online appointment with one of our trusted doctors today. Just click here to set up an appointment. 

How To Tell If Someone You Love Has An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders can cause serious physical problems and are cause for medical concern. It is important to know what signs and symptoms to look for when worried about someone you love.

These signs include:

  • They are eating more rapidly than normal
  • They eat until feeling uncomfortably full
  • They eat alone so as to avoid observers of their eating habits
  • They appear severely underweight or obese
  • Their menstrual periods have ceased
  • They suffer from severe constipation

Eating disorders are a physical response to emotions. Sometimes just looking for the physical symptoms is not enough when someone with an eating disorder goes out of their way to hide their habits.

Emotional red flags which should keep you on alert for the development of an eating disorder include:

  • Depression
  • Boredom
  • Sadness or grief
  • Bullying
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Poor body image

Eating disorders are cause for serious medical and emotional concern. If you suspect someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder check out these resources for help.

Read More About Eating Disorders and Weight Management

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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