A recent study has found that eating troubles come in so many varieties that you may have an eating disorder and not know it. Researchers noted that about 30 million Americans develop a severe form of eating disorder at some point in their lives.
And an eating disorder does not only mean bulimia or anorexia. Binge eating is also on the list and so is orthorexia, or the constant obsession over what to eat to stay healthy. But the societal attitude towards these behaviors prevents many people from realizing that they may have an eating-related issue.
For instance, if you are a binge eater you are often viewed as a ‘foodie,’ anorexics may be seen as ‘picky eaters’ while orthorexics may be praised for their concern with healthy eating.
Fortunately, some of the disorders are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders including binge eating, which made it into the manual in 2013.
According to recent reports, about 5.5 percent of American adults and 1.6 percent of U.S. teenagers are affected by binge eating disorder (BED). Kathleen Murphy of the Calif.-based Breathe Life Healing Centers explained that people affected by the disorder uncontrollably consume foods until they feel like vomiting or their stomach aches. Plus, after binge eating episodes comes depression, anxiety, guilt, and the extra pounds that reinforce the vicious cycle.
Experts caution that there are milder forms of eating disorders including consuming food late at night, food restriction without losing too much weight, using diuretics to shed the extra pounds, and any other excesses.
These milder types are called ‘other specified feeding or eating disorders’ (OSFEDs). Doctors explained that about 70 percent of people that have an eating disorder are diagnosed with an OSFED. But researchers are concerned that the prevalence of OSFED in the U.S. population may be even larger as these types of eating disorders go often unreported.
Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders Assn. explained that OSFED patients do not notice that they may have an eating disorder because they do not put on or lose weight. But OSFEDs could put people’s life in danger and lead to severe medical conditions that may go undetected for years.
Researchers recently identified another form of eating disorder – anorexia athletica, i.e. exaggerating with workout to lose weight. Study investigators believe that other eating disorders are tied to the disorder in at least half of cases.
While disordered eating is not considered an eating disorder, researchers noted that an eating disorder needs to prevent you from having a flexible, normal life to be qualified as such.
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