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Eating Disorders

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Concerned about a friend or family member?…

Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. They affect both men and women of all ages.They are not just a “fad” or a “phase.” People do not just “catch” an eating disorder for a period of time.  They are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships.  People struggling with an eating disorder need to seek professional help.  The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.

Where to get help:

Call the National Eating Disorders Association HOTLINE

Call toll-free, confidential Helpline, Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST): check website for holiday closures.

1-800-931-2237

NEDA has online resources for parents, coaches and students.

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

The National Eating Disorders Association

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Reaching millions every year, we campaign for prevention, improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. We work with partners and volunteers to develop programs and tools to help everyone who seeks assistance.

Free Online Eating Disorder Screening

About the Screening Tool

NEDA partners with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) to provide an online eating disorder screening tool. Found at www.MyBodyScreening.org, this website provides people with the option to take a free, anonymous self-assessment to gauge their risk of an eating disorder. The anonymous SMH online screening takes only a few minutes and consists of a series of questions, developed by treatment professionals in the eating disorders field, which are designed to indicate whether clinical help is needed.

The availability of such a “low pressure” first-step towards recovery is a vital tool. After completing a screening, participants (if indicated) will receive referral information through NEDA’s Helpline for personal evaluation by a medical professional and treatment. There are two screenings available, one for college students – a particularly vulnerable demographic for the development of eating disorders – and a standard screening for other demographics. This is an outstanding resource for people who may need help or know someone who may need help and don’t know where to begin.

Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa

In anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation, the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally.  Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in serious medical consequences:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing.  The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
  • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
  • Muscle loss and weakness.
  • Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
  • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
  • Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
  • Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa

The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions.  Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:

  • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.  Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
  • Potential for gastric rupture during periods of bingeing.
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
  • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
  • Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels.
  • Type II diabetes mellitus.
  • Gallbladder disease.

Health and Counseling Services can make referrals for evaluation and treatment. Please call us at  410-778-7261