Eating disorders are real, complex, and sometimes life threatening conditions that involve extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors related to food and weight. Below you´ll find a brief summary of the Feeding and Eating Disorders described in the 5th Edition of the American Psychiatric Association´s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM- 5):

Anorexia Nervosa includes an inadequate intake of food which leads to a very low weight; intense fear of weight gain and attempts to prevent weight gain; self-esteem that is overly connected to the person´s body image; difficulty recognizing the severity of the situation. Contrary to popular belief, some individuals with anorexia also engage in binge eating and purging behaviors as well.

Bulimia Nervosa involves frequent episodes of binge eating (consuming amounts of food that most people would consider excessive in a short amount of time) followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain which may include self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic use or excessive exercise; feeling out of control during moments of binge-eating; self-esteem that is overly connected to the person´s body image.

Binge Eating Disorder involves frequent episodes of binge eating, but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as excessive exercise; feeling out of control during binge eating; feelings of shame or guilt in regards to their binge eating; indications that the binge eating is out of control (examples include eating when you´re not hungry, to the point of discomfort or by yourself because you´re ashamed about your behavior).

However, for individuals who do not meet the criteria for one of the disorders listed above, but who still struggle with disordered eating and body image concerns that impact their quality of life, they may receive a diagnosis of ¨Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder¨ (previously known as EDNOS-Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Some examples may include: atypical anorexia nervosa (weight is not below normal), bulimia nervosa with less frequent behaviors, purging disorder (purging without binge eating), or night eating syndrome (excessive consumption of of food at night).

Despite the stereotypes portrayed in the media, eating disorders are not an illness found solely among young women. Eating disorders do not discriminate. They are found among all genders, ages, races and socio-economic statuses. If you are a male who suspects you may have an eating disorder, it´s important for you to know that you´re not alone. Millions of men and boys throughout the world struggle with some form of these illnesses.

Eating disorders have a number of consequences on an individual´s emotional and physical health, as well as their relationships, and in some cases can be life-threatening. While the common feature of all eating disorders centers around concern regarding food and weight, eating disorders are actually much more complex than this. They are not a ¨fad,¨ but are often the sign of other underlying concerns such as anxiety, depression, difficulties with emotional regulation, past traumas, etc. With this in mind, it is essential that anyone struggling with an eating disorder seek professional help. Recovery from an Eating Disorder IS possible.

Treatment of an eating disorder often involves a multidisciplinary team composed of some of the following members: medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist and/or nutritionist. Here at SINEWS we have both psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders who have helped numerous patients during their recovery process. Our professionals understand the complexity of these disorders, as well as the diverse factors that leads someone to develop one. While no one chooses to develop an eating disorder, you do have it within your power to choose to seek professional help.

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