What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are a group of mental illnesses that are characterized by abnormal eating habits, attitudes, and behaviors. They are often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds. However, they are more common in young women.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

There are several types of eating disorders, each with its unique symptoms. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, and severe food restriction. People with anorexia nervosa often have a low body weight and may engage in excessive exercise.

Bulimia nervosa involves recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative use, or excessive exercise. People with bulimia nervosa often have a normal or slightly overweight body weight.

Binge eating disorder involves recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviors. People with binge eating disorder often feel a loss of control during episodes and may eat even when not hungry.

Causes of Eating Disorders

The causes of eating disorders are complex and multifactorial. Research suggests that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors contribute to their development.

Genetic factors: Studies suggest that genetic factors may play a role in the development of eating disorders. Twin studies have shown that eating disorders are more common in identical twins than in fraternal twins, suggesting that genes may contribute to their development.

Biological factors: Certain biological factors, such as hormonal imbalances, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and brain structure differences, may also contribute to the development of eating disorders.

Environmental factors: Societal pressure to be thin, cultural ideals of beauty, and exposure to traumatic events such as abuse, neglect, or bullying can also contribute to the development of eating disorders.

Psychological factors: Eating disorders are often accompanied by underlying psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and perfectionism. These psychological factors can contribute to the development of disordered eating behaviors.

Treatment of Eating Disorders

Treatment of eating disorders often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including psychotherapy, nutrition counseling, and medication when appropriate.

Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for eating disorders. CBT helps people with eating disorders identify and challenge their distorted thoughts and beliefs about food and body image.

Nutrition counseling: Nutrition counseling is an important part of the treatment of eating disorders. It helps people with eating disorders learn about healthy eating habits, meal planning, and portion control.

Medication: Certain medications, such as antidepressants, may be helpful in treating eating disorders, especially if they are accompanied by underlying psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression.


Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can have severe physical and psychological consequences. They affect people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds. The causes of eating disorders are complex and multifactorial, and their treatment often involves a multidisciplinary approach. Early intervention is crucial in the treatment of eating disorders, and seeking professional help is essential for a full recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek professional help as soon as possible.

At VVFC, we provide complete life coaching services in Las Vegas, so if you are looking for a therapist in Las Vegas in order to help you overcome eating disorder, look no further. You can find us at any of the following:

CALL: 702.320.3180 Office: 6960 O’Bannon Dr Suite 190