Frequently Asked Questions About What Are Eating Disorders

People with eating disorders suffer from severe disturbances with food and their body image. As a result, their eating behaviors and mindset suffers, which often results in numerous health issues.


Eating disorders affect millions of people worldwide, regardless of age and background. Around 9% of the global population suffers from an eating disorder. These conditions typically appear during the teenage years or may develop over the years, often between 12 and 35.

The three primary types of eating-related disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. In the early stages, patients are often in denial that they have a problem. 

People with these eating disorders are extremely critical of their bodies and tend to have low self-esteem. There is an intense fear of gaining a few pounds or being overweight, leading to a dangerous course of action.

Eating disorders frequently occur with other mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can develop genetically and may run in families. At the same time, researchers are also studying how eating disorders develop from a combination of factors. It includes biological, social, psychological, and behavioral factors.

When not addressed, the physical and emotional symptoms of eating disorders can result in fatal health conditions. As you develop an unhealthy eating behavior, it impacts the appropriate nutrition your body is getting. It can result in malnutrition, cardiovascular problems, digestive issues, and diseases in the teeth and mouth.

However, with medical care, people with eating disorders can develop sustainable eating habits and improve their overall health.

For more information, here are the frequently asked questions about eating disorders.

Is seeing a therapist free?

There are various options for you to see a therapist for free. Chances are, there are community centers near or around your area that offer free to low-cost therapy options. You can try looking it up online or checking in with your state government. On the other hand, some private therapists offer the first session for free. Some organizations provide free to low-cost teletherapy.

Can you choose to have an eating disorder?

No, eating disorders are not a choice. This line of thinking is one of the most common misconceptions about eating disorders. Eating disorders are illnesses that are not solely about food. Patients with eating disorders typically turn to or away from food because they deal with difficult emotions or situations. If left untreated, it could turn deadly as it has one of the highest mortality rates among mental illnesses.

How often should you meet with your therapist?

It depends on many factors, including the treatment you’re receiving, your therapist, and most of all, your schedule. However, many therapists have suggested that you should meet at least once a week in general. In some cases, meeting every three weeks might still workable, but more than that is not worth it. It would be harder to make progress with more gaps between sessions, especially if you’re still getting to know your therapist and vice versa.

Is therapy worth the price?

Because it’s an investment in your health, therapy is worth the price. Effective therapy doesn’t instantly cure your illness per se, but it gives you the necessary tools you can use to confront your troubles. When you step out of the counseling room, you should be able to apply what you learned eventually. With the tools and insights your therapist gives you, you’ll know how to process and understand things even on your own.

Why do therapists charge so much?

As with other professions, therapists charge so much because it costs a lot to become educated and licensed. Other reasons why include the overhead costs of a practice. If you’re finding it too expensive, consider checking with your insurance if it’s covered or looking into a community or public health center.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a disorder that has to do with an obsession with nutritional or healthy food. Rather than the amount of food, the quality of the food is the central focus of orthorexics. They frequently check nutritional information and food labels. Those who suffer from orthorexia avoid eating out or eating food prepared by others. They also tend to worry about cleanliness and fear sickness from “bad” food.

How common is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa affects both women and men. With women, around 0.3 to 0.4 percent of young women suffer from the illness. On the other hand, men are just as prone to suffering anorexia. Studies have found that men make up 10 percent of those found with anorexia nervosa.

How do I eat less?

If you’re trying to eat less, you should ensure you don’t go hungry or starve in the process. What’s more, you should still eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Your meals should be filling enough to last a little more than a couple of hours. Consider increasing the portion of vegetables on your plate. Make sure you have lean protein with every meal and drink water afterward. Lastly, you should eat mindfully–no distractions allow you to eat without unknowingly binging.

What is Bigorexia disorder?

Bigorexia or muscle dysmorphia occurs when you are overly-fixated on your body being too small or having too little muscle. Those who suffer from bigorexia tend to spend hours in the gym, obsess over what they eat, and perceive their body as not good enough. Bigorexics can become prone to steroid misuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts.


Why do I struggle with eating?

You might struggle with eating because you are responding to a difficult situation. Usually, eating problems are not solely about being hungry and wanting food. When you struggle with eating, you might find it stems from trauma or low self-esteem. Other times, it’s your surroundings that make you turn to or away from food.

What does Diabulimia mean?

Diabulimia is a combination of the words “diabetes” and “bulimia.” It describes the condition of having an eating disorder and diabetes simultaneously. The term “diabulimia” is not an official medical term. Instead, doctors usually give a dual diagnosis. There’s a term particular to the two conditions because those with diabulimia tend to manipulate their insulin administration.

Who is most likely to have an eating disorder?

There is no particular demographic that is at risk of eating disorders. Instead, there are those with certain traits that are prone to developing eating disorders. These traits include having a pre-existing mental condition or having a close relative with an eating disorder. Perfectionism and a negative self-image are also factors that lead to eating disorders. Often, a combination of these traits is at play and puts the person at risk.

What is the mortality rate of anorexia?

For every 1000 persons, 5.1 persons die directly due to anorexia nervosa annually. Studies have shown that anorexia has the highest and deadliest mortality rate among all eating disorders. On top of that, eating disorders are second to opioid overdose in terms of mortality.

How long can anorexia last?

There is no specific time as to how long anorexia lasts. Recovery from anorexia is how long it takes you to recover and how long you stay recovered. It all depends on the treatment you are receiving, your support systems, and your self-will. The process isn’t a walk in the park, but it is possible to recover from it completely.

What food kills hunger?

High-fiber or high-protein foods and foods with healthy fats all curb or “kill” hunger. Examples include vegetables like broccoli, apples, avocados, and whole grains. High-protein foods can be lean meat, soy products, Greek yogurt, and eggs. If you’re looking for dessert, studies have shown that dark chocolate effectively suppresses your appetite.


Regardless of your age, background, weight, and gender, you can suffer from eating disorders. However, many studies say that the condition is more prevalent in women. Regardless, it results in having a distorted sense of body image and a negative outlook on food.

There is a way to recover from eating disorders. It’s vital to seek medical treatment in the early stages for eating disorders because people with eating disorders are at risk for medical complications and suicide. Recovery takes time, and the treatment path is different for everyone. But a complete recovery is possible.

An eating disorder specialist can take care of you. They can diagnose by getting your medical history and conducting a physical exam and other tests. It’s important to be honest, and clear about your eating habits for an accurate diagnosis. It is only through which that they can provide you with the best care possible. 

Treatment will vary depending on the type of eating disorder. But most of it would involve regular health check-ups and talking therapy. Depending on the patient’s needs, the treatment may be a combination of psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and medications. 

Most eating disorders are best addressed through individual therapy. But most binge eating disorders involve group therapy. The eating disorder specialist will also provide a guided self-help program for continuous treatment.

The chance for complete recovery increases the earlier the detection is. As such, it’s crucial to identify warning signs of eating disorders. If you have concerns about the eating behavior of yourself or someone you know, it’s important to seek immediate professional help.