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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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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In collaboration with the Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative and special guest Chevese Turner, President, Founder and CEO of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), NEDA hosted the Beyond Hunger: Understanding, Treating & Coping with Binge Eating Disorder conference in honor of NEDAwareness Week 2016.

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While both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are associated with a litany of medical complications , with timely and successful treatment the vast majority of these complications do not leave permanent residual sequelae (conditions that are the result of a previous disease). 

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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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Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

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