What are eating disorders

eating disorder

Eating disorders are one of the most common chronic mental disorders in adults. The development of an eating disorder usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood.

There are essentially three main forms:

  • the anorexia (Anorexia),

  • the bulimia (Eating-vomiting addiction) and

  • the Binge eating disorder (Eating attacks that occur regularly without weight-regulating measures).

Eating disorders often appear as mixed forms.

The influences that contribute to the development of eating disorders are diverse and range from individual, familial, biological to socio-cultural factors.

In order for eating disorders to be recognized as early as possible, it is important to sensitize the public to the topic and to inform those affected and their families. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) as an authority in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) therefore offers a wide range of information. This includes the website www.bzga-essstoerungen.de, on which those affected, interested and specialists can obtain information on the individual clinical pictures, triggering factors and advice and therapy options. In addition, various media such as brochures, flyers or films on eating disorders can be viewed and ordered.

Activities of the BMG are also implemented in close cooperation with a specialist committee that meets annually in the BMG. The specialist committee includes the relevant specialist societies, associations, experts and scientists in the field of eating disorders.

An integrated approach is needed to dealing with eating disorders. As part of the expert committee, recommendations for integrated care for eating disorders in Germany were therefore drawn up in 2011 and published by the BZgA. These recommendations show how a comprehensive offer must be designed, with a particular focus on the transitions and interfaces between prevention, counseling, treatment and aftercare.

Information flyer from the Federal Ministry of Health

With the support of the expert committee, the BMG has developed several flyers with information on eating disorders for various target groups: for doctors and medical specialists, for parents, relatives and people close to them, as well as a flyer for teachers and other multipliers:

Research projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Health

In order to better understand the needs of those affected by eating disorders and their relatives, the BMG funded two research projects from 2017 to 2018. The needs of those affected and related persons with regard to information on eating disorders, prevention and counseling options were ascertained through written and oral surveys. Further information on the research projects can be found here:

You can find more information on the subject of eating disorders, a nationwide database with advice centers and three short films on the subjective perspectives of those affected and relatives with easy-to-understand specialist information at www.bzga-essstoerungen.de.

In addition, the BZgA's advice line is available to those affected, relatives and other people for questions about eating disorders. Callers receive initial advice and addresses to turn to.
You can reach the advisors on the telephone number 0221 892031 Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The costs for calls to the local network in Cologne apply.

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