Eating disorders are classified as abnormal eating behaviors and include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and compulsive over-eating. People suffering from eating disorders are often preoccupied with food, weight, and body image. These disorders represent maladaptive coping mechanisms and may a way for the individual to deal with the stress and conflict of daily life when other more positive strategies are not available.
Eating disorders follow patterns that are similar to “addictive” behaviors and may involve a genetic as well as environmental component. Sometimes a relative or close family member of the individual will have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, a substance abuse disorder or a mood disorder.
Females are more frequently diagnosed with eating disorders than males, although the number of men suffering from some form of eating disorders is rising. The disorders generally appear in adolescence or early adulthood, but the incidence in childhood is rising.
Although most suicidal persons give warning signs of their suicidal intentions, others are often unaware of the significance of these warnings, or they are unsure what to do about them.
Additional information about eating disorders may be found on our Web-based Resources page.