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Are Eating Disorders a Form of Mental Illness?

eating disorders, mental illness

Eating disorders are conditions which are serious, and they are a form of mental illness. If you have one of these conditions then your food, weight, and body image prevent you from thinking of little else. There are three main types of eating disorders: binge eating, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. All of the eating disorders can be very difficult to treat, and many who suffer from these conditions refuse to seek treatment. If left untreated then serious or even life threatening complications can occur. In most cases the individual with this type of mental illness is female, but binge eating affects just as many men as it does women. Some believe that the other two disorders in this category also affect males but that this gender is under diagnosed due to stereotypes and gender bias.

Just like other mental illness eating disorders can be treated and resolved, but only if the individual is willing to admit their problem with food, weight, or body image. Most individuals who have struggled with eating disorders for an extended time require hospitalization. Psychotherapy including individual counseling sessions several times a week can be an effective part of treatment for eating disorders, and family counseling is also important because these disorders affect friends and family in a negative way as well. Nutritional education is also important in dealing with eating disorders, and part of the recovery process involves eating healthy to repair any damage that the abnormal eating patterns have caused. There are also some medications that have shown promise in treating these types of mental illness.

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