Eating disorders are conditions that cause a person to have
unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to food and body image.
with eating disorders severely restrict their food intake (anorexia nervosa),
while others eat excessively (binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating).
They may also vomit, take laxatives, or exercise excessively to try to prevent
weight gain after binge eating (bulimia nervosa).
The cause of eating disorders is not clear, but experts believe
that it is related to a number of physical, psychological, cultural, and social
factors. Eating disorders are most common in teenage girls and young women, but
they can occur at any age and in both sexes.
People who have eating disorders may develop health problems, such
as dehydration and malnutrition. Eating disorders also increase a person's risk
of other health problems related to a poor diet. These other health problems
can include menstrual period changes, thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) and,
in severe cases, heart and other organ problems.
Eating disorders are treated primarily with counseling. Sometimes
medicines also are used.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.