Eating Disorders afflict over two million American men and women between the ages of 15 and 35, and thousands will die from the physical complications of their disorder. Eating disorders are broadly classified into three categories- Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Although each of these categories have symptoms that differentiate them, all eating disorders share common features:
If you struggle with disordered eating, you, and others who struggle with you, obsess about weight, food, and body image until it becomes the controlling factor of how you live your life. You may turn down opportunities to socialize because it will involve food and you're afraid you'll be tempted to eat, or you worry you might not have the privacy you need to "purge" after you eat. Hunger pangs or food and weight obsessions may make it almost impossible to concentrate on studies. Night time laxative use can severely disturb sleep, leading to exhaustion, irritability and depression. You may engage in medically dangerous and extreme weight loss practices, while denying to yourself and others the severity of what you are doing. The need to binge can even drive you to steal food from roommates.
Perhaps you look "just fine" to your friends, but inside you are far from fine. You hold back from being honest and telling your friends what is happening because you're ashamed and afraid of what they'll think about you if they know the truth. And most profoundly, the feelings of shame may even keep you from turning to God for support- at the time when you most need God.
Every area of life- physical, social, emotional and spiritual, is affected by an eating disorder. But the news is good for people with eating disorders- there's help and there's hope! Many, many people have left their eating disordered world behind them and rediscovered their lives. We've put these resource pages together to start you on a journey of recovery.