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Overview of Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders are conditions where individuals have severe disturbances in their eating behaviors. This can involve dieting excessively in order to become extremely underweight, as in Anorexia Nervosa, or having on-going episodes of binge-eating and purging, as in Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating Disorder.

In Western countries, anywhere from 3% to up 10% of all women will suffer from symptoms of an Eating Disorder [ref, ref, ref]. Men can also suffer from these conditions, though far less commonly than women [ref].

Eating Disorders are very serious illnesses that can go on for years and decades and lead not only to suffering but to significant medical complications (see Natural Course). Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric conditions, due in large part to the consequences of being in a state of starvation.

Effective treatments exist for Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating Disorder, and are usually delivered by specialized eating disorder treatment programs.



Anorexia Nervosa