February 20th - 26th has been dedicated to raising awareness on eating disorders. Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcccczwD36s&feature=related and here's a summary on the prevalence / burden of Eating disorders.
An eating disorder is the umbrella name which refers to the condition whereby one is constantly thinking of eating or not eating and feels out of control around food. The individual ends up becoming obsessed about food, weight and their body shape and end up using food to meet their insecurity needs instead of to satisfy hunger.
It is a mental illness and develops over time as a way of dealing with low self esteem, depression, conflicts, pressure, stress and the challenges of live. If left untreated it develops into a destructive cycle and can eventually lead to death.
The two most common types of eating disorders are Bulima Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa. In the case of anorexia, the sufferer is abnormally sensitive about being perceived as fat or fears becoming fat and so deprive themselves of food. Bulimia sufferers develop a habit of binge eating and purging afterwards either by use of laxatives or self induced vomiting. Others forms of eating disorders include binge eating disorder and compulsive over eating.
Eating disorders is a psychological problem and it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. It is usually associated with females but it affects males too. The condition affects about 70million individuals worldwide, 10 -15% of which are males. 1 in 5 women suffer at some point with an eating disorder or disordered eating and are usually between the ages of 12 and 25. It is the third most chronic illness among adolescent in the west. About 20% of sufferers die from other complications which develop as a result of the eating disorder such as suicide. Five to ten percent of anorexics die within ten years of onset, 18-20 percent die within twenty years of onset, and only 50 percent report ever being cured. The mortality rate for anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than th death rate of all causes of death for females between 12 - 25.
Treatment is usually by psychological intervention.
It could happen to anyone. Don't suffer in silence.
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