While you may not think of the two going hand-in-hand, research shows that exercise addiction often co-occurs with an eating disorder. In fact, approximately 39% to 48% of people suffering with anorexia, bulimia or another eating disorder also suffer from secondary exercise addiction.
What is an eating disorder?
Defined as a range of psychological disorders characterized by extreme emotions, attitudes and behavior surrounding weight loss and food issues, there are three types of eating disorders:
- Bulimia Nervosa: Affects two to three in 100 American women. Studies also indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18% of women and 0.4% of men have a history of the disease involving distortion of the body, an obsessive desire to lose weight and spells of overeating followed by guilt induced vomiting or starvation.
- Anorexia Nervosa: Affects one in 200 women in the U.S. alone and is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents, characterized by lack or loss of appetite.
- Binge Eating Disorder: Commonly called BED, binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5% of women, 2% of men and up to 1.6 percent adolescents; who experience guilt or distress following recurrent episodes to consume large quantities of food – often to the point of discomfort.
Believe it or not, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (including depression) says the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Shockingly, only 1 in 10 sufferers ever receive treatment.