Eating Disorders. Facts and common misconceptions By: Dr. Danielle Currey www.bridgesfamilywellness.com. What are Eating Disorders.
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Eating Disorders Facts and common misconceptions By: Dr. Danielle Currey www.bridgesfamilywellness.com
What are Eating Disorders • “Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.” – National Eating Disorders Association • Eating disorders are unhealthy though patterns, obsessions, and activities related to food. • Eating disorders are not a phase of life, and they are not the fault of the person suffering from them.
Scary Facts • More than 50 percent of teen girls and nearly 33 percent of teen boys admit to using unhealthy methods to control their weight including smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, or taking laxatives. • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death. • Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder. Almost 50 percent of these people also meet the criteria for depression. • A mere 10 percent of people with eating disorders receive treatment, and of those only 35 percent seek treatment from a facility that specializes in eating disorders. http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-eating-disorders#
Common misconceptions • They are not serious and should be ignored. • They are “grown out of.” • They are due to vanity. • They are a choice. • They are a form of dieting. • They are a cry for attention. • It’s all the parents fault. • People with eating disorders are white middle class teenage girls. • There is nothing that can be done about them.
The Common Types • Anorexia nervosa – self starvation • Binge eating disorder – uncontrolled binge eating • Bulimia nervosa – binge eating followed by purge behavior – vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercising. • Orthorexia nervosa – obsession with eating “clean” or “healthy” foods thereby creating a very limited food list.
Signs of unhealthy eating habits or underlying medical issues • Feeling “hangry” – this is due to poor blood sugar control. • Not feeling hungry • Forgetting to eat • Binge eating • Constant snacking • Skipping meals • Obsession/preoccupation with foods
Signs of Healthy Eating Habits. • Eating when hungry • Eating balanced meals • Eating a variety of foods • Not feeling that you “have to eat” • Not feeling that you should “skip a meal” • Feeling good about eating • Not feeling guilty about eating.
Problems don’t disappear when you ignore them. Consequences: • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower. • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones. • Muscle loss and weakness. • Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure. • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness. • Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
Health consequences continued… • Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm. • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors. • Potential for gastric rupture during periods of bingeing. • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting. • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
Health consequences continued… • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse. • Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis. • High blood pressure. • High cholesterol levels. • Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels. • Type II diabetes mellitus. • Gallbladder disease. • Death
What can you do? • If you think you may have an eating disorder or may be on your way to develop one, • Talk to your parents • Talk to your doctor • Talk to your teacher • Check out the websites listed in the resources section • Eating disorder screening tool: • https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/locator/nedsp/
Resources • http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org • http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-eating-disorders • http://eatingdisordercounselingportland.com/ • http://www.nedc.com.au/myths-about-eating-disorders