Some of my most popular social media links are based on eating disorders. I find this a little strange, because I rarely receive a phone call on that very subject. In any case, I put together a quick sheet.
- In the United States eating disorders are more common than Alzheimer’s disease.
- As many as one million women and one million men have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
- Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illnesses.
- The top three Chronic illnesses in young girls are: asthma, obesity and anorexia.
- 90% of young women who have developed an eating disorder do so between the ages of 12 and 25.
- Hospitalizations for eating disorders in children less than 12 years of age increased by 119% from 1999 to 2006.
- One-half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.
- The risk of developing an eating disorder is about 1/2 genetic and 1/2 psychosocial.
Tips for Family Members and Friends with an Eating Disorder
If your child or friend is a minor (under 18), seek the help of a treatment professional. Of course adults cannot be forced into treatment, but you can still encourage them to seek help. If they want help — guide them towards therapy or specialized eating disorder care.
Accept the fact that there are no “quick fixes” or cures for an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex illnesses. There are biological, psychological and sociocultural aspects. Recovery is an ongoing process. The duration of the recovery varies by individual and situation.
Give your loved one support and encouragement. Education and positive words are important during the early recovery process.
Participate in family therapy, individual therapy or other support groups to work through your feelings. This is an emotionally charged time. In addition to supporting your loved one, make sure that you have a strong support network for yourself.
Some Famous people who have struggled with an eating disorder:
- Elton John has had a history of bulimia. He underwent a treatment program for drug addiction and bulimia. He is one of the few men to openly admit to his struggle with an eating disorder. Hats off Sir Elton!
- Princess Diana publicly confessed to battling bulimia and self-mutilation in1994.
- After years of speculation regarding her skeletal figure, actress Mary-Kate Olsen finally checked into an eating disorder treatment center.
- Victoria Beckham previously denied rumors of anorexia but now admits that she struggled during the early days of the Spice Girls.
- Singer Alanis Morissette struggled with anorexia when she was first trying to break into the music industry.
- Paula Abdul began bingeing, purging, and over-exercising early in her career. She sought help and now helps others by being an example.
Want to learn more … here is some additional information
An eating disorder is a mental and physical illness that is characterized by a preoccupation with food and weight. This condition is often so serious that the person with the eating disorder is able to focus on very few things other than the food they eat, how much they weigh, and how they appear to others. For example, a person with an eating disorder may eat extremely small amounts of food or none at all. They may also spend hours looking at themselves in the mirror. A person with another type of eating disorder may overeat or eat in secret.
Many people with an eating disorder also face other illnesses. These are called co-morbidities, or diseases that coexist with the eating disorder. For people with an eating disorder, these other illnesses often include depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.
How Do Eating Disorders Start?
The path from a normal, healthy diet to an eating disorder is sometimes a very perplexing one. While the exact cause is unknown, certain factors may play a role in the development of an eating disorder. This could include emotional issues like low self-esteem or impulsive behavior. Traumatic events, abuse, or pressure to conform to society’s definition of beauty may also trigger a shift toward unhealthy behaviors.
Eating disorders may begin slowly, with crash diets or overindulging from time to time. At some point, these habits of eating less or eating more begin to spiral out of control. The desire and drive to eat less or more is blown out of proportion. This leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and the body.