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What is Eating Disorders?

Author: Karen Liu

Editors: Shannon Tan and Kira Tian

Artist: Denise Suarez

Eating disorders are illnesses characterized by irregular eating behaviors and severe concern about food and body weight. There are many myths and stereotypes surrounding eating disorders that oversimplify how serious and sometimes fatal it can be. So what exactly goes on at the psychological level of someone with an eating disorder?

There are many types of eating disorders, but the most common include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Anorexia is marked by an obsessive fear of gaining weight, refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, and an unrealistic perception of body image. Many people with anorexia view themselves as overweight when in reality they are severely underweight. Therefore, they strictly limit the amount of food they consume, which can be fatal. Anorexia can lead to brain damage, organ failure, bone loss, heart difficulties, infertility, and even death.