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Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast

Jul 13, 2019

What is an eating disorder?

One of the most important things about anorexia and bulimia is understanding that they are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, epigenetics, early development, and current stressors. They can lead to dangerous outcomes because of how the eating disorder changes both the body and the brain. Many therapists and nutritionists, as you’ll hear in my conversation with Sarah Bradley, don’t treat from multiple angles, and often lack empathy into this condition.

There are three main types of eating disorders we will cover here:

Anorexia is the practice of cutting calories to an extreme deficit or refusing to eat.

Bulimia involves purging, or vomiting, the food that has been eaten.

Orthorexia is a fixation and obsession on eating healthy food (like only eating green vegetables with lemon juice).


Anorexia traditionally lasts for an average of eight years.

Bulimia traditionally lasts for an average of five years.

Approximately 46% of anorexia patients fully recover, 33% improve, and 20% remain chronically ill.

Approximately 45% of those with bulimia make a full recovery, 27% improve, and 23% continue to suffer.

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