Who Develops Eating Disorders?

Who Develops Eating Disorders?Eating disorders are a broad psychiatric problem and one of the most prevalent among women. According to the article “Development and Validation of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale” (2000) by the American Psychological Association, “it has been estimated that 10% of female individuals in Western countries will suffer from a diagnosable eating disorder.” While eating disorders are more common in women, men also struggle with them; people may develop anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa regardless of their sex, age, race, personal history or social class. However, treatment is available to help these patients recover.

What Causes an Eating Disorder?

The Eating Behaviors article “Social Anxiety and Eating Disorder Comorbidity” (2012) highlights the prevalence of co-occurring eating disorders and anxiety, particularly anxiety about social appearance and negative evaluation by others. These issues and others prompt eating disorders, and anxiety issues are not limited to any one specific group of people. Self-oriented perfectionism, overvaluation of shape and weight also lead to eating disorders, because they create unattainable standards for physical appearance. According to the article “Understanding Perfectionism” by the Centre for Clinical Interventions, these standards encourage people to develop unhealthy thoughts about food and eating.

The Danger of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have immediate and dangerous physical health effects. Anorexia nervosa can cause cardiac arrhythmia or arrest, bulimia nervosa can lead to tooth loss or a ruptured esophagus and binge-eating disorder can contribute to thyroid abnormalities. These are only a few of the many and potentially life-threatening effects of eating disorders. All forms of eating disorders can lead to mental health complications, such as depression, irregular or uncontrollable mood swings, anxiety and substance abuse. Just as anyone can develop an eating disorder, anyone struggling with eating issues is at risk for dangerous and lasting mental and physical health effects.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but anyone can also recover. There are many solutions to address an eating disorder, because no single form of treatment will work for all individuals. Eating disorder recovery requires patients to work with medical professionals to determine which factors led to the eating disorder. They must also investigate whether any mental health or substance abuse issues developed as a result, and then they must give equal attention to all of these factors at the same time. Eating disorder treatment must be integrated, comprehensive and individualized for patients to recover.

Help Finding Effective Eating Disorder Treatment

Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about treatment for eating disorders, mental health issues and addiction. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to connect you to the best recovery resources available, and all phone services are free and confidential. Get the help you need right now.