In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I will attempt to create a post that links to everything you need to know about eating disorders.*, **
*Or at least gets you within a couple of clicks of a lot of things that are good to know.
**Scientists and clinicians don’t actually know everything we need to know about eating disorders yet, but I’ll share what we do.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes formal definitions of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and others. Even if someone does not meet full diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, they may still struggle with eating disorder symptoms such as body dissatisfaction, loss-of-control overeating or undereating, preoccupation with food, weight, or shape, or unhealthy weight loss behaviors (e.g., abusing laxatives, self-induced vomiting, compulsive exercise). If you’re curious about your own eating behavior, you can take an online screening here.
There are a variety of different factors that increase the risk for eating disorder symptoms. You can read about them here or see the biopsychosocial model below for some of the main factors associated with eating disorders.
Current research-supported eating disorder treatments include: family-based or Maudsley treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy, integrative cognitive-affective therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy.
There are also some scientifically-informed self-help books available:
Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder
Additional Eating Disorder-Related Topics
The Marginalized Voices Project
More Eating Disorder Resources
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
National Eating Disorders Association
Podcast Episodes on Eating Disorders (1, 2, 3)