Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or eating disorders which are not classified affect more than 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States at some point. Only a small percentage receive treatment for the condition while 35 percent of those who do not receive treatment attend a specialized facility for eating disorders.
Eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than other mental health diagnoses even as more limited treatment, awareness and financial resources are directed towards eating disorders than other mental health conditions. Younger people are more greatly impacted than others think and early identification and treatment are necessary to help combat eating disorders and the effects.
Anorexia Nervosa is considered to be one of the deadliest eating disorders with a higher mortality rate than another other mental health disorder. Mortality rates in individuals with eating disorders demonstrate a high rate due to the affected individual’s desire to lose as much weight as possible. By severely restricting food intake, an individual can experience extremely low body weight which deprives the body of essential nutrients necessary to function normally and survive. The body can shut down with serious health consequences resulting from starvation including death in approximately 5 to 20 percent of individuals affected by anorexia nervosa.
Bulimia nervosa brings on recurrent binging episodes and behaviors to compensate for overeating. During a binge episode, individuals may have difficulty controlling how much is eaten, often until the person is overfull. Following a binge eating episode, the person may engage in purging (self-induced vomiting, missing laxatives, etc) or other non-purging behaviors (excessive exercise or taking diet pills) to make up for overeating. Major organ functions including inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus, digestive problems and pancreatitis are just some of the issues which may happen as a result of bulimia. Individuals affected may experience dehydration due to repeated purging which can lead to an irregular heart rate, heart failure or even death in approximately 3.9 percent of affected individuals.
The most common eating disorder in the United States is binge eating disorder. Characterized by episodes of binge eating, individuals may be more likely to overeat (binge) when stressed or upset. As a result, individuals have difficulty sleeping, experience depressive symptoms and weight gain. Approximately 2 in 3 individuals with binge eating disorder struggle with obesity. Excess weight can contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, heart disease, liver, kidney or gallbladder disease which may increase risk of death for affected individuals.
Eating disorders typically emerge during the teen years and young adulthood. It is essential to instill a healthy body image and self-esteem in adolescents. Early prevention and recognition of eating disorders are also necessary to help reduce high mortality rates among individuals with these conditions. Effective treatment is best presented before the conditions progress. Professional help is often needed to support a full recovery.
Individualized treatment plans are based on an individual’s specific needs for treatment of an eating disorder. If you or a loved one needs help recovering from an eating disorder, Hired Power provides support and resources for the journey. Call us for more information.
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