Eating Disorders Affect More Than Just The Body

By Brent McCluskey 03/03/15

The lack of nutrients brought on by eating disorders causes more damage than meets the eye.

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Most people are aware of the devastating effects an eating disorder can have on the body, but unfortunately the long-term consequences are more than just skin deep. Turns out eating disorders like anorexia nervosa can leave the body ravaged and devoid of nutrients, but it also damages the brain as well.

“[Eating disorders affect] the thinking parts of our brain that we use to make rational decisions,” said psychiatrist Kim Dennis. “Those parts of the brain themselves can actually shrink and degenerate during an active eating disorder.”

Dennis says societal factors like “unnaturally” thin celebrities could be encouraging these disorders and suggests the conversation be refocused on the potential health problems associated with eating disorders.

“This person is at risk of a sudden cardiac death,” Dennis said. “This person is at risk of osteoporosis, which is one of the few aspects of having an eating disorder that can be irreversible well into recovery.”

A 2013 study published on found that anorexia nervosa patients had global reductions in the gray and white matter parts of their brain. It concluded that excessive restrained eating changed the brain in a way similar to clinical conditions.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.