What is Causing the Growing Epidemic of Disordered Eating
Clinical eating disorders have clear indications and criteria for diagnosis. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (ED-NOS) are all represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V (DSM-V) and have strict parameters for diagnosis. Not so easy to spot are those eating habits that, although they may not fit the definition of an eating disorder, have troubling consequences for a person’s physical and emotional health. These eating behaviors fall into a category termed disordered eating, and they are far more prevalent than we may have realized.
What is Disordered Eating?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating . Such an alarming statistic for a problem that is so real but what do these words really mean and how can we substantiate a difference between them? Webster defines the word disorder as ‘an abnormal physical or mental condition’. An eating disorder mirrors both abnormal mental and physical patterns making it one of the deadliest psychiatric disorders. It is often characterized by disordered eating behaviors, distorted attitudes about food, and/or inadequate ways of weight control. The most common diagnoses are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified (ED NOS).