KUSA - It plagues millions of Americans - in fact experts estimate 10 million women and one million men suffer from eating disorders. So, in an effort to get people talking about the problem, February 24 - March 1, 2014 has been set aside as National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Bonnie Brennan, Clinical Director at Denver's Eating Recovery Center says eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other illness.
While most people are familiar with disorders like anorexia or bulimia, there are some frightening new trends. Brennan says while these aren't official diagnoses, the threats are very real.
The first variation is called "drunkorexia." Brennan says about 40% of college student are engaging in the behavior, which involves "limiting their food intake throughout the day so they can go out and drink at night and if you haven't eaten you can get drunk faster." She says people who do this run the risk of "blacking out" or behaving impulsively.
Another trend in eating disorders is known as "pregorexia." This is when expectant mothers don't gain enough weight during pregnancy because they're worried about having to slim down again after their baby is born. Brennan says this issue affects about 30% of pregnant women.
Eating disorders aren't limited to only women. "Men and teenage boys too are feeling a lot of pressure to be very thin and lean and look a certain way," Brennan explains. That trend is being called "manorexia."
Another variation called "Ortho-rexia" involves people who are overly focused on eating healthy foods. "These people take healthy eating to the extreme where they're eliminating so many foods from their diet that they are suffering from malnutrition and serious health consequences," says Brennan.
If you think someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, contact the Eating Recovery Center.