Article | March 2018

Eating Disorders

Who doesn’t worry about food?

We all do at times. But people with eating disorders live in fear of food and of being fat. They're often unable to control their food intake. And they hide their eating habits. Secret starving, binge-eating, or purging are all common. Anxiety, depression, guilt, and shame often go hand-in-hand with eating disorders, too.

More people than ever are struggling with obesity, bulimia, and anorexia. It’s no surprise - people spend billions of dollars each year on diets.1 And our media promotes an ideal of thinness and beauty. Tens of millions of people suffer from eating disorders.2 But many of these people don't realize the health risks. And many aren't willing or able to get treatment.

How is it diagnosed?

Many people try to diagnose an eating disorder without professional help. Some symptoms, like self-starvation, bingeing, or purging, are obvious. But other symptoms can only be spotted by a professional therapist. Only your doctor or a specialist should diagnose an eating disorder.

How is it treated?

Eating disorders can be treated. You really can feel good about yourself again. And you can learn to recognize the symptoms in yourself or a loved one. A doctor or therapist can help. He or she can discuss risks to your health and your treatment options. With knowledge, commitment, and support, you can recover from an eating disorder.

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1 National Institutes of Health, Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss

2 National Eating Disorders Association, What Are Eating Disorders?

This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.