National Eating Disorders Association
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Understanding Eating Disorders

Substance abuse problems may begin before or during an eating disorder, or even after recovery. Those struggling with co-occurring substance use and disordered eating should speak with a trained professional who can understand, diagnose, and treat both substance use disorders and eating disorders.

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The chance for recovery increases the earlier an eating disorder is detected. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs of an eating disorder. 

An individual with an eating disorder generally won’t have all of these signs and symptoms at once, and warning signs and symptoms vary across eating disorders, so this isn’t intended as a checklist. Rather, it is intended as a general overview of the types of behaviors that may indicate an eating disorder. If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please seek additional medical help.

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Traumatic events are events that cause psychological, physical and/or emotional pain or harm.  

Traumatic events, especially those involving violence between people, have been found to be significant risk factors for the development of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders—particularly those involving bulimic symptoms, such as binge eating and purging. 

Stress, Trauma and Coping

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An eating disorder diagnosis can be challenging enough on its own, but many individuals also have other psychological issues that can accompany the eating disorder. 

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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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The 2016 NEDA Conference may be over, but the lasting friendships and memories will stay with attendees long after they depart Chicago. The day kicked off with members of our Family Panel sharing insights on their experiences with eating disorders, recovery and treatment.

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NEDA is so excited to be here in the bustling Chicago area for the 2016 NEDA Conference! This year’s Conference is themed, “The Sky’s the Limit: Advances and Insights in Eating Disorders Treatment and Prevention.”

Attendees kicked off the day with a Shire-sponsored breakfast with Monica Seles, renowned tennis player and author of Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self

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College is a time of change, for your mind and body. Being in college has certainly helped me maintain my personal eating disorder recovery in so many ways, but throughout my four years I’ve noticed there are a lot of aspects of college life that can be dangerous to mental health. 

Certain ideas and behaviors we see so commonly in a college environment are often overlooked without even being seen as a potential threat to body image, and can turn college campuses into a breeding ground for problematic behavior.

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One of the most injurious facets of eating disorders is the stigma surrounding them. Despite a growing body of research confirming neurobiological and genetic causes of eating disorders, there are persisting misconceptions that these illnesses are lifestyles choices caused primarily by social or psychological factors. Such stigma contributes to the all-too-common picture the public paints of eating disorders: teenage white girl who engages in self-starvation in pursuit of the ever-elusive beauty ideal.

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