Eating disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. Statistics show that 80% of individuals who develop an eating disorder began their dysfunctional relationship with food through dieting. For many individuals, there first attempts at weight loss were positively reinforced by compliments and comments from others. The onset for anorexia and bulimia is usually during late adolescence or young adulthood. 77% usually struggle with their eating disorder between 1-15 years.
Eating disorders are often a conscious or unconscious coping mechanism, however, they have an addictive quality that quickly becomes a severe problem in its own right. Low self-esteem, shame, feelings of unworthiness, lack of control, depression, and anxiety are just a few of the underlying issues that are associated with eating disorders. Eating disorders fall into the following diagnostic categories: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Eating Disorder NOS. There are other forms of disordered eating, such as Orthorexia and Muscle Dysmorphia, however, they have not been included in the DSM-IV and therefore, do not have a diagnostic code.