Eating disorders

Whether stemming from behavioral challenges, societal pressures or an underlying mental health issue, eating disorders can affect anyone of any age, race, gender or background. They are just as dangerous as other illnesses, so it is important that these disorders are identified and treated right away. Find community resources available in Stark County to support you or a loved one who is struggling with bulimia, anorexia, binge eating or another eating disorder.

Eating disorder causes

While there is no known cause for eating disorders, there are many events and factors that are likely to trigger the behaviors. Trauma, stress and abuse are common factors, as well as unrealistic pressures from society. Often people diagnosed with eating disorders suffer from low self-esteem or a distorted self-image, but they can be anyone from any background.


Signs of anorexia

The signs of anorexia can often be difficult to identify. They might look like regular dieting behaviors at first and can be easily concealed or explained away. Eventually, these symptoms can become extremely dangerous, so it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Learn about the warning signs of anorexia below:

  • Abnormal blood counts and elevated liver enzymes
  • Avoids social situations where eating is involved
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Consistent use of laxatives or diet pills
  • Constant dieting
  • Eats alone or in secret
  • Exercises excessively
  • Extreme or rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue, dizziness and fainting


Signs of bulimia

One of the most common eating disorders affecting young people in Stark County, bulimia is a dangerous disorder that can have serious impacts in a young person’s life. If someone routinely consumes large portions of food with the intent to purge the meal and lose weight, they are likely suffering from bulimia. Learn about the signs and symptoms associated with bulimia below:

  • Bloodshot eyes and broken blood vessels
  • Dehydration and inflammation
  • Eats uncontrollably or in secret
  • Electrolyte imbalances leading to heart problems
  • Enlarged glands around the neck and jaw
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
  • Infertility
  • Oral cuts and sores
  • Severe weight fluctuations
  • Smells of vomit


Signs of binge eating disorder

Commonly referred to as compulsive overeating, binge eating disorder is when someone uncontrollably consumes a large amount of food without feeling full or fulfilled. To be considered binge eating, episodes of overeating must happen a minimum of twice a week over the course of at least six months. Learn more about the signs of binge eating disorder:

  • Always eating without feeling full
  • Diagnoses for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other health problems
  • Eats normally in a group, but binges when alone
  • Feels numb or emotionally detached while eating
  • Hides large amounts of food
  • Once they start eating, it’s difficult to stop
  • Relieves stress and anxiety by eating


Seeking eating disorder treatment

If you are concerned you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out to schedule a medical appointment with a qualified mental health provider near you. There are many treatment options available in Stark County, including therapy, nutrition education and prescription medications.

Helpful links

Academy for Eating Disorders

Educational resources for parents, patients and mental health professionals.

Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness

Articles and information to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders.

Child Mind Institute

Helpful articles and resources for friends and family of young people affected by eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Coalition

Learn how the EDC is helping to raise awareness and public support for eating disorder education, prevention and treatment.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Related Disorders

Browse blog posts, guides, recovery and training resources to help support individuals with eating disorders.

National Eating Disorder Association

Find toolkits, brochures and articles helping to support parents and educators as they encourage healthy behaviors and recovery.

The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders

Collection of research, articles and educational resources intended to support males affected with eating disorders.