Eating Disorder Awareness

In Eating Disorders, Nutrition by Compleo Physical TherapyLeave a Comment

Disordered eating and diagnosed eating disorders have become common problems in the U.S. In fact, “Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.” And “national surveys estimate that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.”


There are many types of eating disorder diagnoses, and it is important to remember that any diagnosis can include any/ all of the following behaviors: 

  • Restrictive behaviors (ex. Skipping meals or cutting out entire food groups)
  • Compensatory behaviors (ex. Self-induced vomiting, overexercise, or laxative abuse)
  • Binging behaviors (ex. Overeating to cope with emotional stress) 


Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all ages, body shapes, and weights… While no one knows for sure what causes eating disorders, a growing consensus suggests that it is a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.”


It is important to remember that “eating disorders are not a choice. They are complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that patients don’t choose. They are bio-psycho-social diseases, which means that genetic, biological, environmental, and social elements all play a role.”


The behaviors and symptoms of eating disorders are often easily dismissed or not taken seriously, however, “eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. Besides medical complications from binge eating, purging, starvation, and over-exercise, suicide is also common among individuals with eating disorders. Potential health consequences include heart attack, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and electrolyte imbalance. People who struggle with eating disorders also have intense emotional distress and a severely impacted quality of life.”


Evidence suggests that early intervention is key to ensuring a high chance of full recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling, seek an evaluation from a medical provider who has experience in eating disorders. Your provider’s level of experience with eating disorders is a crucial part of ensuring an accurate evaluation, as many symptoms can go unnoticed by a provider who has not been trained to have an eye to identify the signs of atypical presentations of eating disorders. 




Written by: Courtney Anderson, MS, RD, LD, CLC

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