What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental illnesses that can affect people of every age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic group. We do not know the exact cause of eating disorders. However, we do know that a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors come together to spark an eating disorder. While eating disorders are classified as a mental illness, they are unique in that they manifest with physical complications that can lead to serious life-threatening illnesses. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents and young women with AN have a mortality rate twelve times higher than their peers. Eating disorders are not a choice. Individuals with eating disorders typically do not understand the severity of their condition making it difficult to reach out for help. It is critical to pursue early screening, intervention, and treatment.