Eating disorders are very serious, but treatable illnesses. They do not affect any specific group of people, although more women receive a clinical diagnosis than men. Eating disorders often start in adolescence; however research is showing that an increasing number of children and older adults are suffering with them. Symptoms of an eating disorder can also change over the lifespan; a person can start with one eating disorder and later show signs of another.
Eating disorders are often related to other significant issues, such as depression, anxiety, self-injury, substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder and body image. Over time, an eating disorder can damage your heart, brain and gastrointestinal system. It can also affect your hormones and if left untreated, be fatal.