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The National Institute of Mental Health archives materials that are over 4 years old and no longer being updated. The content on this page is provided for historical reference purposes only and may not reflect current knowledge or information.

Mental Health Minute: Eating Disorders


NARRATOR: Got 60 seconds? Take a mental health minute to learn about eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious—and sometimes even fatal—illnesses.

Eating disorders affect all types of people. People with eating disorder may appear healthy even when they are very ill.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating.

People with anorexia see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight.

People with bulimia have recurring, frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food. They follow these episodes with unhealthy behaviors to compensate for the overeating.

People with binge eating disorders feel a lack of control over eating large amounts of food, but don’t purge, fast, or over-exercise. As a result, they often are overweight or obese.

The earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. Talk to a professional health care provider.

Treatment is individualized and a person may need more than one type of treatment.

Learn more about eating disorders through the NIMH website. And spread the word to help someone else.