It’s estimated that 30 million people in the United States will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives, says the National Eating Disorders Association. Just as the disorders themselves widely vary, so do their potential health consequences.
Many of the disorders have an impact on weight, which affects every system of the body. In addition to the physical impact, eating disorders can also have psychological complications, such as the development or worsening of other mental health conditions. “Being malnourished—a common symptom of many eating disorders—in and of itself is likely to increase anxiety and depression in someone. The disorders can also have social consequences, like isolation,” says Andrea D. Vazzana, PhD, child and adolescent psychologist and clinical co-director of the Eating Disorders Service at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.
Dr. Vazzana tells Health, “You want to make sure you are being well-supported, that you are aware of a slippery slope into eating disorder behaviors—and catch them early rather than having them persist.”
Read more from Health.