Surveys have suggested an estimated 30 million people in the U.S. will deal with an eating disorder
at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). As Healthline reported, there are six major types of eating disorders
, including anorexia
, binge eating disorder, pica
, rumination disorder
, and avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder
. Eating disorders can affect folks of any size, gender, and race — and they can be life-threatening even if someone "looks" physically healthy from the outside. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that research has shown that eating disorders — anorexia, in particular — has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
LGBTQ+ people are much more likely to experience eating disorders
throughout their lifetimes - mainly because of the unique challenges they face (such as fear of rejection, and internalised negative messages, and trauma). Yet, Beat's research found lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans folk are much less likely to seek help than straight people. 37 per cent of LGBTQ+ people said they wouldn't feel comfortable pursuing treatment, compared to 24 per cent of straight people. And the damaging stereotypes contribute to this. One respondent, Andy, said he found people "thought gay men were all muscle or thin. I wanted people to understand, but they didn’t take my illness seriously. It took years to explain that I wasn’t just greedy and my problems were emotional".
Most American teenagers — across demographic groups — see depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers, a new survey by the Pew Research Center found. The survey
found that 70 percent of teenagers saw mental health as a big issue. Fewer teenagers cited bullying, drug addiction or gangs as major problems; those from low-income households were more likely to do so. The consistency of the responses about mental health issues across gender, race and income lines was striking, said Juliana Horowitz, an associate director of research at the center. The survey also asked respondents if they considered alcohol consumption or teen pregnancy to be major problems among their peers. Half of the teenagers from households earning less than $30,000 said alcohol was a major problem; that number decreased to 43 percent among teenagers in households earning more than $75,000.
On Feb. 13, actor and singer Alyson Stoner opened up about seeking treatment for an eating disorder
and how being a child star impacted her health in an interview with PEOPLE
. Stoner is known as the pig-tailed dancing kid in Missy Elliot’s “Work It” music video and acting roles like Cheaper by the Dozen
, Step Up
, and the Disney original movie Camp Rock
reports. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE
, Stoner said working non-stop and becoming famous at such an early age affected her emotional and physical wellbeing, and she started developing health problems as early as six years old, including severe anxiety that caused heart palpitations, hair loss, and seizures. “As a kid, I learned to make fire out of fumes,” Stoner told PEOPLE
. “It’s all I knew.
Drunkorexia appears to be relatively common among young people in several cultures. A study
of Italian adolescents (ages 16-21) found that 12% indicated they had “restricted food or calories before drinking an alcoholic beverage” in the past 30 days. Those who reported this behavior were also more likely to engage in fasting, binge eating, and use of laxatives. A similar survey
of female Australian college students found that over half reported engaging in drunkorexia-type behaviors. A recent cross-cultural study
found that over half of both French and American college students show signs of drunkorexia.
There appears to be a connection between social media use and depressive symptoms in 14-year-olds, and that connection may be much stronger for girls than boys, according to a study published in the journal EClinicalMedicine on Thursday. "There's an alarming dierence," said Yvonne Kelly, first author of the study and a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London in the United Kingdom. Among teens who use social media the most -- more than five hours a day -- the study showed a 50% increase in depressive symptoms among girls versus 35% among boys, when their symptoms were compared with those who use social media for only one to three hours daily.
Researchers at the University of Kansas are working on a smartphone app for clinical use to improve eating disorder treatment outcomes for patients. Despite the availability of quality treatment, there's a chance that a person suering from an eating disorder won't respond to them, according to Kelsey Forbush, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas. Forbush is leading the development of the app, according to the research team. Patients who use the app will self-report through an Eating Pathology Symptoms Inventory and an Inventory of Depression and Anxiety. Clinicians can track and assess the responses with computer-adaptive technology (CAT). CAT uses the patient's answers to determine which question to ask next, tuning the self-reporting process to be as eective as possible.
People suffering from anxiety and depression may be at significantly higher risk for developing other major health conditions like heart disease, suggests new research, perhaps at levels comparable to smoking and obesity – though the "perhaps" in this case is significant. The study analyzed health data for more than 15,000 adults over a four-year period from the Health and Retirement study, a large US population-based study of older adults. Among that group, 16% suered from high levels of anxiety and depression, 31% were obese, and 14% were smokers (note: the original research is a "longitudinal panel study that surveys a representative sample of approximately 20,000 people in America," an important limitation of which I'll discuss in a moment).