• National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating disorders affect millions of people, mostly women between the ages of 12 and 35. In fact, up to 5% of the population suffers from some type of eating disorder that usually develops in adolescence and young adulthood. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the most common, especially in women, but they can all occur at any age and affect any gender. What causes them is usually a preoccupation with food, weight, or shape or with anxiety about eating or the consequences of eating certain foods.

Myths versus facts regarding eating disorders. 

Myth: All eating disorders lead to being extremely underweight.

Fact: Eating disorders are not determined by weight, nor can weight alone reveal the severity or impact of an eating disorder. Some eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, are characterized by severe weight loss, while some people with restrictive eating have had extreme weight loss but still sit within the normal weight range or even higher. 

Myth: Eating disorders affect only young women. 

Fact: While women are at higher risk than men when it comes to developing an eating disorder, studies indicate that eating disorders are more prevalent in males than was previously thought. The truth is, eating disorders can affect anyone, at any stage of life.

How do you know if someone has an eating disorder?

If you’re concerned that someone might have an eating disorder, there are signs to look for including changes in someone’s mealtime behavior and relationship to eating.

These behaviors may gradually increase in intensity and severity over time. They include:

  • Making excuses not to eat
  • Cutting out whole food groups from the diet
  • Limiting the diet to purely healthy foods in a restrictive or extreme way
  • Eating in secret or showing evidence of bingeing (eg, empty containers left out, hiding food, disappearance of large amounts of food from a shared storage space)
  • Repeatedly visiting the bathroom close to the completion of meals
  • Drinking instead of eating
  • Rigid behaviors or rituals around food
  • Much greater interest in and focus on food preparation

How do we treat eating disorders?

The most important step to treating an eating disorder is recognizing the disorder and seeking treatment. There is no cure for eating disorders but there are different ways to get help. Here are a few below:

  • Talk Therapy: this can be used for any eating disorder and helps focus on the root of the eating disorder both physical and mental factors.
  • FDA-approved medicine for bulimia nervosa and binge eating
  • Hospitalization for serious eating disorders
  • Outpatient and residential programs   

Find answers at UCR Health

If you have an eating disorder or are concerned someone you love may have one, talk to your doctor right away. 

To speak with a UCR Health physician, please visit https://www.ucrhealth.org/make-an-appointment/ or give us a call at 1-844-827-8000.

About UCR Health

UCR Health is comprised of a team of physicians, specialists, and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving people’s health. With five medical offices located throughout the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, UCR Health is growing to meet the healthcare needs of the region, bringing innovative, culturally sensitive medical care to the community. Established alongside the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, UCR Health’s patient-centered primary care and specialty services deliver university-based healthcare excellence and innovation to all communities.