Eating disorders are a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness that affect millions of people worldwide. While the physical effects of eating disorders are often discussed, the psychological impact and long-term consequences of these illnesses are often overlooked. Eating disorders have become the leading cause of death among all mental illnesses, and it’s important to understand why.
One of the primary reasons eating disorders are so deadly is due to their physical effects on the body. Anorexia nervosa, for example, can lead to malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, and heart failure. Similarly, bulimia nervosa can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and damage to the digestive system. Binge eating disorder can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
However, the psychological effects of eating disorders are just as dangerous. Eating disorders are often driven by deep-seated emotional issues, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and trauma. These underlying issues can cause severe depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, making it difficult for people with eating disorders to recover.
Eating disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated. Many people with eating disorders are able to hide their symptoms and may not seek help until their illness has progressed to a life-threatening stage. Additionally, there is still a significant amount of stigma surrounding eating disorders, which can make it difficult for people to talk about their struggles and seek help.
It’s also important to note that eating disorders are not a choice. They are a complex mental illness that requires professional treatment and support to overcome. Recovery is possible, but it takes time and a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the illness. Only thirty to forty percent of people suffering from any kind of eating disorder ever really reach remission from the disease. Maybe that is because only ten percent of those dealing with eating disorders receive proper treatment from the disease so they can heal and recover.
Eating disorders are the leading cause of death among all mental illnesses due to their physical and psychological effects, the difficulty in diagnosing and treating the illness, and the significant stigma surrounding the issue. It’s crucial that we raise awareness about eating disorders and work to break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking the help they need. By doing so, we can help save lives and improve the overall well-being of those affected by this debilitating illness.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, it’s important to get professional help. Reach out to us at L&B Counseling or contact the National Eating Disorder Hotline.