The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list different types of eating disorders that are respectively categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) specifically defines eating disorders as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior.” Adolescent eating disorder statistics show 2.7% of teens in the U.S. between 13 and 18 years old have a diagnosable eating disorder. According to findings from the Minnesota Starvation Study by Keys et al. (1950), which is among the most prominent studies used as a source of psychoeducation in eating disorder treatment, the act of restriction and extreme dieting directly impact a teenager’s physical, social, behavioral, and psychological well-being.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, neurobiological health disorder, and is listed as such in the DSM-5. It is a debilitating condition that greatly affects a young person’s quality of life as the symptoms of this condition make completing everyday tasks extremely challenging, if not impossible. OCD is characterized by “repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions).” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America approximately 2.3% of the population has OCD, which is about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the U.S.
There is a notable connection between OCD and eating disorders in teenagers. Eating disorders and OCD both involve intrusive thoughts, fear, and ritualistic behaviors. Verywell Mind states that “eating disorders and anxiety disorders share traits that contribute to their development and account for the high rate of comorbidity.” Studies show that nearly two-thirds of people with eating disorders also have a co-occurring anxiety disorder, most commonly OCD. Research indicates that young people diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa are 11% to 69% more likely to develop OCD.
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