Eating Disorder Resources

This section includes a very brief overview about eating disorders and disordered eating, Health consequences of eating disorders, a questionnaire and other resources.

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, yet they remain widely misunderstood. An eating disorder is an unhealthy preoccupation with food, weight, or appearance that interferes with everyday life. Discorded eating behaviors and eating disorders are not a choice, they develop due to a combination of an individuals genetics, social environment and psychological health.

Eating disorders are treatable and curable with extensive support from family and friends, a community, and a professional team of physical and mental health professionals.

They often coexist with other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The consequences of eating disorders are serious and can be life-threatening. Read more from the Eating Disorder Foundation of Denver

Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect a person’s emotional, physical and mental health. They are not just a “phase” that will pass, or a choice an individual makes. They are complicated, devastating, and sometimes fatal conditions that can have serious implications on someone’s health. It is crucial that individuals struggling with an eating disorder seek professional help to avoid facing serious health consequences.

Anorexia Nervosa involves severe restriction of food intake, which can cause the body to go into survival mode.

This process slows down important functions of the body to conserve energy. The consequences are dangerous and can be fatal.

  • Fatigue and fainting
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Osteoporosis (reduction of bone density)
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney failure
  • Lanugo (layer of downy hair all over the body)
  • Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation in women)
  • Pregnancy complications

Bulimia Nervosa involves a cycle of binging and purging.

The health consequences of bulimia are most often related to purging behaviors.

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart failure
  • Tooth decay
  • Acid reflux
  • Inflammation and rupture of esophagus
  • Intestinal distress and irritation

Binge Eating Disorder involves frequent episodes of binge eating.

The health consequences are most often associated with being overweight.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems

Are you struggling with disordered eating?

This questionnaire could help:

  1. Do you feel guilt and remorse when you eat?
  2. Are you terrified of being overweight?
  3. Do you isolate so that you can eat?
  4. Do you avoid eating when you’re hungry?
  5. Do you continue to eat even after you feel full?
  6. Do you take medication or exercise instead of eating a meal?
  7. Do you weigh yourself at least once a day?
  8. Do you evaluate yourself based on your body size and shape?
  9. Do you eat large amounts of food in a brief amount of time?
  10. Do you feel out of control when you eat?
  11. Do you make yourself vomit to avoid gaining weight?
  12. Do you regularly take laxatives or diuretics to lose weight?
  13. Do you exercise no matter how tired or sick you may feel?
  14. Do you skip meals in order to lose weight or to avoid gaining weight?
  15. Do you diet often?
  16. Do you exercise more than once a day?
  17. Do you hide food?
  18. Do your emotions affect your eating habits?
  19. Are you preoccupied with food or your body size?
  20. Do you avoid close relationships or social activities?
  21. Do you feel as if food controls your life?

If you have answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you should seek professional help. This screening is NOT a diagnostic tool, and does not replace an official assessment. If you need help finding an eating disorder specialist in your area, please contact us.

Other Resources:

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

NEDA is dedicated to expanding public understanding of eating disorders and promoting access to quality treatment for those affected along with support for their families through education, advocacy and research. NEDA also sponsors National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in February and holds an annual conference. Visit Their Website  or Call Their Helpline: (800)931-2237

International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp)

Offers nationwide education, training, certification, and a semiannual conference for practitioners who treat people with eating disorders. Visit Their Website or call them: (800) 800-8126

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD)

Offers a listing of therapists and hospitals on a national basis, educational materials, support groups, conferences, advocacy campaigns, research, and a crisis hotline. Visit their website or call their helpline: (630) 577-1330



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