Facts and Statistics
Global eating disorder prevalence increased from 3.4% to 7.8% between 2000 and 2018. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019).
Almost half of all Americans know someone with an eating disorder (South Carolina Department of Mental Health).
A quarter of those with anorexia are male! (Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue, 2014).
90% of those with eating disorders are adolescent and young women.
30-40% of middle school girls worry about their weight.
About one person dies every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016).
Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness. One study found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder (Eating Disorder Coalition, 2016).
Types of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are not just about someone who does not consume caloric nutrients. Eating disorder diagnoses include but are not limited to:
Refusal to maintain normal/average body weight, intense / irrational fear of gaining weight, and fear of becoming fat
An individual with episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors (i.e., vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise).
Binge Eating Disorder
Impulsive grazing, binging, or continuous eating accompanied by a lack of control. In these cases, eating is not driven by hunger, rather emotions.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Unlike anorexia, these individuals are not concerned with their body image, shape, and size. These individuals tend to avoid food based on things such as texture, smell, or appearance. There is a general lack of interest in eating.
Eating Disorders rarely occur in isolation and often co-occur along with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and substance abuse. It is recommended to engage in a full evaluation and assess for other mental health disorders that may be contributing or exacerbating the eating disorder.
The preferred modalities of psychotherapy are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). However, treatment should address not only psychological, and behavioral concerns but also nutritional deficiencies. Eating disorders are treated best from a holistic approach which will include individual, group, family, nutritional counseling, and medications. The treatment team most often includes a therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist/dietician and medical doctor.