Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are classified as a mental illness and affect any age group, gender or race.
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Classified as a mental illness, an eating disorder can be characterized by a range of disorders that affect an individual’s eating habits and cause severe distress about body weight and shape. A person’s dysregulated eating may include inadequate nutrition or periods of excessive food intake, which can cause life-threatening side effects.
Eating disorders can affect people in any age group — from childhood to adulthood — regardless of gender or race. However, they typically present themselves during the adolescent years, age 14 to 18. The illness has even been shown to manifest in children as young as 7 years old.
Anorexia and bulimia are the most common eating disorders, yet binge eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder affect a significant part of the eating disorder population. This illness commonly coexists with other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Eating Disorders Signs and Behaviors include:
- Limiting calorie or fat intake
- Limiting quantity of food
- Binging on food
- Self-induced vomiting
- Over exercising
- Inappropriate use of diuretics, diet pills or laxatives
Male Eating Disorders
Traditionally, eating disorders are seen as a female’s illness and statistically, women seem to dominate patients with eating disorders. However, male eating disorders are more common in boys and men than is generally known. It is now estimated one in four individuals suffering from an eating disorder are male.
When diagnosing eating disorders in men, they tend to talk about their bodies differently than women. Men often talk about losing weight in order to decrease body fat, whereas women often talk about the need to be thin. Men talk about being lean and mean, whereas women talk about smaller waistlines. Men want to increase muscle mass, while women want to diet.
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