The pressures of maintaining a perfectly proportioned body have proved too hard to handle for many celebrities. Models, singers, actors and TV personalities have all fallen victim to eating disorders.
Sadly, eating disorders aren’t strictly reserved for the rich and famous.
In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. And, a new study estimates that about 500,000 teens struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating right now.
Eating disorders can also become a problem at all stages of life.
"The women who had eating disorders fell into three distinct categories," said clinical researcher Cynthia Bulik, PhD, author of Midlife Eating Disorders: Your Journey to Recovery.
"Most of them developed disorders in adolescence, recovered, and then relapsed; others never recovered; and some actually developed anorexia or bulimia for the first time later in life.
“But there was one common thread uniting most of the women in the study: Their illness was generally overlooked by doctors."
A few well-known victims of eating disorders:
Portia de Rossi
Mary Kate Olsen
According to the National Institute of Mental Health: “An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating.
“A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spiraled out of control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape may also signal an eating disorder.
“Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.”
Signs & Symptoms
The WebMD website notes: "Eating disorders can cause serious physical problems and, at their most severe, can even be life-threatening. Most people with eating disorders are females, but males can also have eating disorders. An exception is binge-eating disorder, which appears to affect almost as many males as females.
"Treatments for eating disorders usually involve psychotherapy, nutrition education, family counseling, medications and hospitalization."
If you think you have an eating disorder – or know someone who may be suffering – take action now. The life you save may be your own.
eDiets Chief Editor John McGran has an extensive background in online dieting and tabloid news. He covers the celebrity beat for eDiets.