Eating Disorders  

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Sometimes midshipmen come to the USNA with disordered eating attitudes and behaviors and sometimes these attitudes and behaviors develop and/or worsen during their time here at the Academy.

Once started, disordered eating behaviors may become self-perpetuating and progress into a full blown eating disorder. Dieting, bingeing, and purging help some people cope with painful emotions and feel as if they are in control of their lives. However, these behaviors undermine physical health, self-esteem, and a sense of competence and control.

Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, just because you experience some disordered eating symptoms does NOT mean that you have a diagnosable eating disorder.

Disordered Eating

When one’s attitudes about food, weight, and body size lead to very rigid eating and exercise habits that can jeopardize one’s health, happiness, performance and safety.

Eating Disorder

Disordered eating becomes an Eating Disorder when there is a “persistent disturbance of eating behavior or behavior intended to control weight, which significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning”. Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa are the most commonly known eating disorders.

Eating Disorders can have serious psychological and medical consequences. However, they are often highly treatable and are particularly responsive to treatment with early intervention.

Untreated, eating disorders can be progressive and, in some extreme instances, life threatening. It is important for those experiencing a pattern of disordered eating symptoms to seek specialized professional help offered at the Midshipman Development Center as soon as possible.

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