National Eating Disorders Association
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Understanding Eating Disorders

Eating disorders don’t happen in a vacuum – they are complex illnesses with close connections to substance abuse, trauma, obesity, and other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Myths and misinformation about eating disorders are everywhere, so it's time to get the facts straight and educate everyone about these serious public health concerns.

Learn more about eating disorders and help us spread the word by sharing these infographics (jam-packed with pictures, brand-new statistics, and a full list of references!).

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Binge eating disorder (BED), the most common eating disorder no one talks about, affects 1- 5% of the general population. Despite the fact that more people are struggling with BED than with anorexia and bulimia combined, it is widely stigmatized, misunderstood, and overlooked. 

Even the name—binge eating disorder—can inspire eye rolls from people who aren’t familiar with the devastating effects of BED. To get to the heart of this loaded term, we’ll walk you through it, one word at a time. 

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I took the screening  and it told me I could be at risk for an eating disorder...what do I do now?

First, congratulations for reaching out to the National Eating Disorders Association and finding the courage to take the screening. You’ve taken the first step to getting help! If your results show that you are at risk for an eating disorder, it means that you selected criteria that could be consistent with disordered eating behaviors and it’s time to get the help you deserve to overcome those thoughts and behaviors. 

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Anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder affect up to 5% of young women, are associated with high use of medical resources, but often go unrecognized in medical settings. Men with eating disorders are even more likely to elude detection. All physicians should be alert to signs and symptoms of these relatively common behavioral disorders. Most cases respond to specialist treatment, although rates of medical morbidity, functional impairment and mortality are high, especially for anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality of any psychiatric condition.

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