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Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with food and/or body weight.

Eating disorders are rooted in complex emotional issues that center on self-esteem and pervasive societal messages that equate thinness with happiness. Eating disorders usually surface in adolescence, and more than 90% of sufferers are female, although the incidence among males appears to be growing. Because eating disorders are neither purely physical nor purely psychological, effective treatment must include both medical management and psychotherapy. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment is started, the better the chances of a successful outcome.

The two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia, which are covered separately in this book.

Gail B. Slap, M.D.

Further Reading

Maloney, Michael and Rachel Kranz. Straight Talk About Eating Disorders. New York: Facts on File, 1991.

Further Information

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). P.O. Box 7, Highland Park, IL 60035,(847) 831–3438.

National Eating Disorders Organization. 6655 Yale Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136, (918) 481–4044.

Additional topics

Psychology EncyclopediaDiseases, Disorders & Mental Conditions