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Eating disorders are complex psychological and medical conditions that affect approximately 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States (National Association of Eating Disorders, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org). The path of thought that leads one to appear consumed with body image, calories, exercise, and other seemingly compulsive behaviors is generally mystifying to those who do not suffer from eating disorders. Even more confusing is the fact that there is not a simple to answer to the question of "why" someone would engage in these behaviors. The "why" is unique to the individual sufferer.
While the following signs are not all-inclusive and do not constitute a diagnosis of an eating disorder, they are characteristics common among eating disorders. This list should not be a substitute for treatment of eating disorders.