Food is meant to sustain, fuel and satisfy us. But for some people, their relationship with food is less healthy — and much more complicated. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by an unhealthy preoccupation with eating, exercise, and/or body weight or shape. Eating disorders affect several million people in the United States — most commonly afflicting women between the ages of 12 and 35.
Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. People with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa tend to be perfectionists with low self-esteem who are hyper-critical of their bodies and their entire selves. In many people, eating disorders occur together with other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder — as well as alcohol and drug abuse problems.
Eating disorders can be accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, with the most common including severe restriction of food, food binges or purging behaviors such as vomiting and over-exercising. In severe cases, untreated eating disorders can result in serious health consequences, sometimes even leading to death. Here at BOLD Health, we want you to know that we have experience treating people living with eating disorders, and you don’t have to suffer forever.