Eating disorders are complex psychiatric illnesses often resulting in severe disturbances in eating behaviors and body-image related thoughts. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, nearly 30 million Americans have an eating disorder at a given time (2017). There are various types of eating disorders, the most common being anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED). Moreover, eating disorders are diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
This review paper analyzes the current research on eating disorders. Some potential causes of eating disorders include the media, familial influence, and peers (Hogan & Strasburger, 2008). Also, college students are a high-risk population for eating disorders, with athletes and nutrition-related students being more high-risk than others (Arnett, 2004). The potential warning signs of an eating disorder may include (but are not limited to) weight fluctuations, excessive exercise, avoidance of food/functions with food, skipping meals, and evidence of disordered eating behaviors (such as purging) (2017). Moreover, acute medical complications may include amenorrhea (in females), dizziness, dry skin, brittle nails, unhealthy gums and teeth, lanugo, hair loss, muscle weakness, stomach cramps, poor wound healing (2017). Chronic complications of eating disorder behaviors may include osteoporosis, infertility, poor oral health, and cardiovascular abnormalities (2017). Furthermore, this paper also outlines how I have spread awareness of the topic at Arizona State University.