April 14, 2009

Eating Disorder Facts

We've compiled some of the most relevant facts and  statistics related to eating disorders and eating disorder recovery. At the Eating Recovery Center, we believe it is important to understand the nature of eating disorders before exploring treatment options. Eating Disorder Statistics • In the United States, as many as 10 million women and one million men have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more struggle with binge eating disorder. • 2.5 percent of Coloradans have an eating disorder. • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, at approximately 18 percent in 20-year studies and 20 percent in 30-year studies. • Four out of ten Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. Eating Disorders and Society • 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance. • One half of 4th grade girls are on a diet. • In one study, three out of four women stated that they were overweight although only one out of four actually was. • Two out of five women and one out of five men would trade three to five years of their lives to achieve their weight goals. Types of Eating DisordersAnorexia Nervosa: Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. • Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating. • Binge Eating Disorder: Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating. Medical Issues Associated with Eating Disorders • Misdiagnoses of the medical complications of these diseases are common due to the different physiology of these patients. Eating disorders can slow a resting heart rate and lower a “normal” body temperature range. • Poor nutrition affects brain chemicals and functionality and extremely low weight patients have difficulty responding to therapy without weight restoration. Medically-supervised weight restoration is necessary before psychotherapy or many pharmaceuticals can have a therapeutic effect. • People with eating disorders are 12 times more likely than the general population to die from respiratory disease, 11 times more likely to die from gastrointestinal disease and five times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer. Eating Recovery Eating disorders carry complexities unmatched by almost any other disease. Not simply biological or psychological in nature, anorexia and bulimia are bio/psycho/social diseases rooted in genetics, societal norms and values and personal belief systems. To effectively treat an eating disorder, each of these elements must be addressed.
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