Eating disorders are often times associated with specific races, age groups, and even career choices…think white teenage actress/models. But the truth is that eating disorders do not discriminate. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 10 million American women suffer from eating disorders. This is not a Black v. White epidemic, and it certainly does not only apply to those experiencing puberty. When the University of North Carolina’s Eating Disorders Program was initially designed in 2003 they expected most of their patients to be adolescents, however today they report that 50% of their patients are over 30-years-old.

Discipline v. Disorder

As we as women get older our lives evolve and so do our stressors and triggers. Couple this with the fact that nearly 40% of American women are on a diet, the door of an eating disorder can easily be nudged open. How can you spot the difference between a disciplined eater and someone who has a full-fledged illness? Well a relationship with ED (eating disorder) is incredibly complicated, and while the myriad of symptoms can range from self deprecating comments, wild mood swings, and obsession with food- the biggest warning sign is extreme change. Have you or a friend gone from a burger loving lady to a strict vegan over night? Or has fitting or not fitting your favorite jeans completely ruined or made your day? It might be time to get help.

Beyond Anorexia & Bulimia

While anorexia (immoderate food restriction and irrational fear of gaining weight, as well coupled with distorted body self-perception) and bulimia (binge eating immediately followed purging) are usually the first two disorders that come to mind when thinking of disordered eating there are several others that are just as serious and therefore worth exploring. Keep reading to see if you or someone you may know may be suffering from one of these five “new disorders.”

1. Orthorexia

A fixation with healthy or righteous eating and the avoidance of foods that have been deemed “unhealthy.”

Orthorexics often eat only organic foods, eliminate entire food groups or refuse to eat anything that is not pure or natural. While striving to be thin may not be their goal the obsession with good health and fear of bad health are their driving factors. The danger: malnourishment.

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