Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders are a group of conditions characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior with either an extreme reduction or an extreme increase of food intake, which negatively affects the individual's mental and physical health. There are two main types of eating disorders – anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. There is a third category of eating disorders called “eating disorders not otherwise specified”. Binge eating disorder is categorized under this. Eating disorders mainly appear during adolescence and early adulthood and affect women and girls much more than males. Eating disorders are not self-inflicted diseases, but real illnesses with biological and psychological causes. They often co-exist with other disorders such as depression and substance abuse and can lead to a number of other health complications such as kidney failure, heart problems and even death. Eating disorders are complex conditions that come about from a combination of biological, emotional, behavioral, psychological and social factors. While they may start with a preoccupation with food and weight and body image issues, they are much deeper than that. People who suffer from eating disorders use the control of food as a means to cope with feelings and emotions that are over-whelming and to have a sense of control of their lives. As one can see, eating disorders are real diseases with a biological basis that affect the brain and body and should be treated as any other disease. At least 24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Twenty percent of people with eating disorders will die prematurely due to complications related to the disease. Schizophrenia, depression and a... ... middle of paper ... ...alth conditions and substance abuse, they will not be required to cover all of them. In accordance to the law, if an insurance company covers mental health and substance abuse it must be done with an amount or level that is considered to be average. Eating disorders are real diseases with a biological basis and therefore deserve insurance coverage. Studies show tthat it is more cost-effective for insurance companies to cover eating disorders than to deny coverage because later on they would have to cover the more serious, life threatening and more expensive medical complications that arise as a result of untreated eating disorders. Paying out of pocket for treatment for many individuals and families is just not possible and people are suffering and dying due to the fact that many insurance companies do not provide sufficient if any coverage for eating disorders.

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