With a lifetime of experience as a the child of someone with an eating disorder, the survivor of my own eating disorder and muscle dysmorphia, the father a child with a feeding disorder, and a clinician with nearly two decades of experience in the field, I've seen nearly every aspect of this disease.
Eating disorders are deadliest mental illness there is outside of addiction. While we often think of these as a female disorder (because females make up the majority seeking treatment), earliest research on the topic shows males have always suffered too. Latest research confirms males make up a significant portion of those who meet criteria. Getting further into the research, we find gay and bi-sexual males and transgender individuals (regardless of identifying as trans-male, trans-female or non-binary) have the highest rates of the disorder. This is a disease that does not discriminate. Whether it's anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or related diagnoses, everyone of all genders, backgrounds, and body sizes need to know it's okay and even imperative to ask for help to recover. And the problem is not about body image, that's a symptom. The source of an eating disorder is typically about other issues like a need for control, dominance, a drive to be exceptional; it can also be a way to hide, manage feelings of inferiority, or cope with unyielding anxiety and depression. For those who struggle with binge eating, the answer is not another diet. The roots of that disorder are far more nuanced than just "eating right." Let's figure out how to move past the behavior and live your life in a way that's happy, healthy and sustainable.
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