The statistics are staggering. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, up to 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder.1 Eating disorders, also known as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, are illnesses that cause abnormal eating habits. Eating disorders are not a choice. They are a mental illness, and they affect all people, even lawyers.
People with anorexia see themselves as overweight and refrain from eating. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.2 Anorexics constantly weigh themselves and count calories. They only eat certain foods and are extremely underweight.
Bulimia is a disorder in which people eat excess amounts of food until they are sick. They oftentimes make themselves vomit, take laxatives, or exercise excessively to rid themselves of the food they devoured. They have a fear of gaining weight, but are not typically underweight.
People with binge-eating disorder have no control over what and how much they eat. This leads to feelings of guilt and shame, which then leads them to binge-eat again. It is a vicious cycle. People who suffer from binge-eating disorder do not purge or exercise uncontrollably after an episode. They are usually obese or overweight.
Eating disorders wreak havoc on a body and are often accompanied by other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. Long-term disorders can lead to heart disease, tooth decay, stroke, hypertension, and among many other health problems, death.
These are only 10 of the many signs of eating disorders.
· Dramatic weight loss
· An obsession with calories, diets, food and weight
· Having no control over when and how much you eat
· Strong need for control
· Eating in secret or hiding food
· Excessive exercise
· Using medication to suppress appetite
· Refusing to eat/denying hunger
· Laxative abuse
· Withdrawal from friends and family
If you are a lawyer who exhibits even one of these signs, or if you are worried that a lawyer you know might have an eating disorder, please contact the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program for help.
OLAP offers Ohio lawyers CONFIDENTIAL treatment options. For more information, go to ohiolap.org or call (800) 348-4343 or (614) 586-0621.