What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is a mental health condition which is characterized by an unhealthy relationship with food and which has serious medical consequences for the individual's physical and mental wellbeing. For more information, click here.
How common are eating disorders?
At least 30 million people in the U.S. (of all ages, genders, and ethnicities) have an eating disorder. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For more information, click here.
Who is affected by eating disorders?
People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities suffer from eating disorders.
13% of women above the age of 50 engage in disordered eating behaviors.
In a study of active military duty personnel, the number of personnel who experience an eating disorder was shown to increase in both men and women over a five year period.
For more information, click here.
Anorexia is characterized by extreme weight loss, fear of gaining weight, and restricting food intake. This can also result in dehydration, constipation, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and (for females) no longer getting your period. Anorexia is a life-threatening condition that can result in serious medical consequences and death. For more information, click here.
Bulimia is characterized by episodes of binging and purging/compensating behaviors. Binging is an episode of significantly overeating in a short period of time that is characterized by a sense of lacking control. Purging or compensating behaviors include induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and restricting food intake. Bulimia can also result in extreme weight fluctuation and can be potentially life-threatening. For more information, click here.
BED is characterized by recurrent episodes of binging, i.e. an episode of significantly overeating in a short period of time that is characterized by a sense of lacking control. These episodes of binging occur at least once a week. This can also result in clinical obesity. For more information, click here.
OSFED, formerly known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, is characterized by recurrent eating disorder behaviors that do not fully meet the criteria for another eating disorder diagnosis. This can also result in dangerous health complications and death. For more information, click here.
"Disordered eating" refers to a wide range of unhealthy eating behaviors. These can include a preoccupation with weight or dieting, feelings of guilt or shame associated with eating or with certain foods, meal skipping as the result of anxiety about food, and using exercise to compensate for eating. Though this is not a formal diagnosis, assistance from a therapist can help treat these behaviors before they become more serious.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is a type of feeding or eating disorder that affects both children and adults. It is categorized by an extreme selectiveness in the amount and types of food consumed, resulting in significant medical complications. ARFID also disproportionately affects people with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders. You can find more information here.
Common types of psychotherapy for eating disorders include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and group therapy.
Intensive outpatient treatment typically includes daily individual and/or group therapy for part of or the entire day.
If an individual is unable to function in daily life or they are in immediate medical danger, they may be referred to partial hospital, residential, or inpatient treatment.
Made In His Image is a Catholic ministry that serves women recovering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, and abuse.
Kati Morton is a licensed therapist, specializing in eating disorders, who is an active online advocate for mental health. Check out her video resources about eating disorders.
The National Eating Disorders Association offers reliable information, support, screening tools, and helplines for individuals suffering from disordered eating behaviors.
Caitlyn Ann Hoerner shares the truths of her Christian faith that guided her through the difficult journey of recovering from an eating disorder.
In The Catholic Table, author Emily Stimpson Chapman introduces the reader to the authentically Catholic and sacramental worldview that will change your relationship to food forever.
Eating Recovery Center provides a full range of care for individuals who experience symptoms of all types of eating disorders, including adults, adolescents, and children.
"Loving God Incarnate and Our Neighbor's Body As Our Own"
"Welcome to Fat & Faithful, an ongoing conversation where fat women talk faith, politics, and culture as they relate to fatness." (excerpt from website)
This memoir by size-dignity activist Amanda Martinez Beck reveals how our society miseducates us on the goodness of our bodies-- especially plus-size and disabled bodies-- and how to unlearn those lie, replacing them with the truth of your God-given dignity.
This memoir by J. Nicole Morgan recounts her childhood wounds of seeing her weight as a spiritual flaw and learning instead to recognize the intrinsic dignity of every body as created by God-- including her own.