What Does it Mean to Have an Eating Disorder?
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What Does it Mean to Have an Eating Disorder?



Roughly 9 percent of the population deals with eating disorders. That may seem like a small number, but it still works out to roughly 28.8 million Americans.


Many people struggle with eating disorders or know someone who struggles. In either case, it can be hard to know where to turn for help or accurate information.


For those who are feeling uncertain, some of the most common questions about eating disorders are answered below.



What Is the Difference Between a Diet and an Eating Disorder?


It’s not always easy to tell when someone is simply on a diet and committed to sticking to it and when they’ve developed an eating disorder. Also, part of this confusion stems from the fact that an eating disorder can often start with someone going on a diet (typically because they want to lose weight).


According to the American Psychological Association, an eating disorder is defined as a “pathological disturbance” of a person’s behaviors and attitudes related to food. But, there’s more to it than simply wanting to shed a few pounds or eat more fruits and vegetables.


For those who are struggling to tell whether they’re simply dieting or if they’ve drifted into eating disorder therapy, working with a therapist can be invaluable. Therapists are trained to recognize the signs of eating disorders. Thus, they can help their clients determine whether or not they’ve developed one.


Is an Eating Disorder a Good Way to Lose Weight?


Many people, especially children, teens, and those who fall into the young adult category, believe that adopting disordered eating habits (restricting food, obsessively counting calories, purging after eating, etc.) is the key to helping them lose weight and achieve the figure they’ve always wanted.


These beliefs are also reinforced by a lot of celebrities and fitness influencers on social media, who often tout disordered eating practices as being perfectly normal and healthy.


In reality, an eating disorder is not a good way to lose weight. Eating disorders can have serious, long-term ramifications for a person’s health and self confidence.


As the National Eating Disorder Association points out, eating diso