30 Million Americans May Have an Eating Disorder
Many people think that if they don’t have anorexia or bulimia -- the two most commonly known obsessive compulsive disorders -- they don’t need to worry about how they’re eating. But those two conditions are just the first course the eating disorder buffet.
Experts from the National Eating Disorder Association believe approximately 30 million Americans are struggling with a disorder, and a majority probably don’t even realize it.
For example, mental health professionals have spotted a new eating trend called binge eating disorder (BED). It’s marked by a person’s inability to control food intake. In a cyclical pattern, they eat large quantities of food in a short amount of time -- often followed by intense shame and guilt. BED reportedly affects 3.5 percent of women, 2 percent of men, and 1.6 percent of adolescents.
Binging, purging, or restricting food intake -- inconsistently or on occasion -- all qualify as "other specific feeding or eating disorders” (OSFEDS) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders contends that OSFEDS constitute 70 percent of all eating-disorder cases. But since there are often no immediate physical side effects from occasionally exhibiting disordered eating patterns, they are harder to recognize.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which started on Sunday and will end Feb. 27, serves as a time to sparkawareness and educate the public about the many faces of eating disorders.