Do I have problems with eating disorders? Statistics, symptoms and treatment

12.07.2018 - Addiction, Articles, Eating disorders, Mental health

Today, eating disorders constitute an increasingly more common mental disorder, particularly among young people. The promotion of slim figures and healthy lifestyles by the media often leads to an excessive focus on the shape of the body and the quality of consumed food.

Studies show that approximately 70 million people worldwide currently suffer from eating disorders. The most commonly occurring eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and orthorexia.

Anorexia nervosa

American studies show this to be the third most common illness in young people, just after asthma and type 1 diabetes. Studies conducted in 2012 in the USA reveal that 0.9% to 2.0% of women and 0.1% to 0.3% of men will suffer from anorexia during their lives in the future.

The symptoms indicating this disorder are first and foremost:

very low body mass, lower than 85% of the ideal weight for a given age and height,

extreme preoccupation with putting on weight,

avoiding food that may lead to an increase in body mass,

amenorrhoea in women,

decrease in sexual drive in men.

Many underlying causes may result in anorexia. The most important ones are perfectionism driving a person to obtain the ideal physical appearance promoted by the media, pressure on having a slim figure exerted by the environment, as well as preoccupation with maturity and with developing features characteristic of sexual maturity, such as the appearance of breasts or menstruation.

ANAD statistics show that 90% of people suffering from anorexia will, at some point, start overeating.

eating disorders - anorexia

Bulimia nervosa

Information collected from various sources demonstrates that 1.1% to 4.6% of women and 0.1% to 0.5% of men will develop symptoms characteristic of bulimia during their lives.

The most common symptoms of this disorder are:

episodes of overeating, coupled with a feeling of loss of control, occurring at least twice a week,

exhibiting compensatory behaviour meant to prevent an increase in body mass, such as:

self-induced vomiting,

taking laxatives and diuretics,

taking appetite suppressants,

intense physical exercise.

Bulimia is typically the result of attaching excessive importance to the shape and size of the body. The first episode of self-induced vomiting and the realisation that it is an effective method of weight control is often very significant for the development of the disorder.

Both in the case of bulimia and anorexia, patients base their self-esteem on their weight and shape.


Binge eating

American studies from 2007 indicate that 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men have experienced binge eating during their lives, which makes this a disorder even more common than anorexia or bulimia.

Similarly to bulimia, this disorder involves uncontrolled consumption of enormous amounts of food over a relatively short time, although with no compensatory behaviour occurring afterwards. It often leads to an increase in body mass, overweight or obesity.

The cause of binge eating is usually the inability to manage stress and emotions in a different, healthy way.


It is a relatively recent disorder, characterised by an excessive focus on healthy diets, taking the form of an obsession. The patients pay obsessive attention to what they eat, choose only healthy products and feel an overwhelming fear of consuming food that is considered harmful.

Other psychological problems manifesting themselves as the desire to control one’s life through an excessive regulation of eating habits are acknowledged to be the cause of orthorexia.


Treatment of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and other eating disorders.

Eating disorders are a very important issue that may have a tremendous influence on your mental and physical health, which is best illustrated by the fact that 20% of cases of untreated anorexia lead to death. The emotions that accompany these disorders, such as sorrow, isolation, shame, rejection, a feeling of not belonging or being misunderstood by others also lead to many complications in relations with other people.

Avoiding meetings or events that would involve the necessity to eat, including family meals, weakens the relationships between loved ones and impairs the feeling of social belonging. This is accompanied by problems related to irritability, frequent loss of sexual drive or shame resulting from the belief in the perceived imperfections of one’s body drawing a person away from a partner. Avoiding various activities due to a lack of energy and losing spontaneity because of too great a focus on food and mealtimes will also result in negative mood.

Undergoing treatment leads to full patient recovery and regaining optimal weight for even as much as 60% of persons.

Eating disorder treatment methods in The Kusnacht Practice are tailored individually to each patient. Our psychiatrists and psychologists are qualified specialists employing effective methods of psychotherapy for work with their patients, such as cognitive therapy, EMDR, family therapy, mindfulness, positive psychology, hypnosis and techniques utilising bodywork. For those interested, we also offer spiritual direction.

Treatment may also be supplemented with additional features, such as acupuncture, art and music therapy, massages, meditation, yoga, reflexology and satori hair sessions.

We also use a procedure that involves the stimulation of neurons in the brain via magnetic field, which boosts its activity.

Furthermore, we ensure daily support from our specialists after concluding your at the clinic and coming back home, based on phone calls or Skype calls during particularly difficult moments.

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Self-assessment test for eating disorders

Do you suspect yourself or anyone from your loved ones to be suffering from eating disorders?

Find out by taking the short three-minute TEST.

Are you in need of an individual interview or dedicated consultation?

Please, contact us.

The Kusnacht Practice specialists will take care of your problem discreetly, professionally and with full commitment.

Call: +41 43 499 60 50
Email: [email protected]

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