More and more Germans suffer from eating disorders
In recent years, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (anorexia) and bulimia nervosa (addiction to food) have increased significantly. According to experts, those affected should definitely seek medical treatment, because eating disorders can cause serious organic damage and, in the worst case, even be fatal.
Number of people with eating disorders has risen sharply
Figures from previous years show that eating disorders are increasing dramatically. More and more girls are particularly affected. Current projections by the Barmer GEK now show that the number of people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia increased nationwide from around 390,000 to around 440,000 between 2011 and 2015 (plus approx. 13 percent).
Many sufferers do not see their eating behavior as pathological
“We are watching with great concern that more and more people are suffering from eating disorders. Often, those affected do not perceive their eating behavior as pathological. This requires feedback from parents and friends, ”explained Dr. Ursula Marschall, senior physician at the Barmer GEK in a message from the health insurance company.
Interpret symptoms correctly
According to health experts, eating disorders should be treated quickly, but the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia have to be interpreted correctly.
Eating disorders can show up in very different ways. Anorexia is usually associated with being underweight, which is mainly caused by hunger, but also by vomiting, a lot of sport or laxatives. In most cases, those affected weigh themselves very often, count calories and are panicky about increasing weight. Despite being underweight, they think they are too fat.
Bulimia is characterized by binge eating. Here, sufferers gobble up large quantities secretly and then feel guilty and take countermeasures, for example by vomiting, fasting, dieting or doing excessive sports.
Eating disorders generally belong in the hands of a team of medical experts. Because: "In addition to the psychological impairments, they can also cause serious organic damage and, in the worst case, even be fatal," wrote the health insurance company.
Highest rate of increase in Brandenburg
According to the information, 9,627 Barmer GEK insured nationwide suffered from anorexia nervosa last year. This was 14 percent more than in 2011 (8,442). There has been an increase in the number of cases in all federal states, but especially in the federal states that still have relatively few victims.
The rate of increase was the highest in Brandenburg at just under 55 percent. In 2015, most of the insured members of the Barmer GEK diagnosed with anorexia nervosa were in the densely populated countries of North Rhine-Westphalia (2,466) and Bavaria (1,308).
A serious problem, especially for women
“Despite the supposedly low number of cases, anorexia is a very serious problem, especially for women. Because the number of unreported cases is likely to be many times higher, ”says Marschall. Stress, pressure to perform and wrong role models could lead to women becoming anorexic.
But there are more possible reasons why such disruptions occur. British and Swedish scientists have recently reported on a study that suggests that eating disorders are apparently dependent on gender distribution in schools. As the proportion of girls in school increases, the likelihood of eating disorders increases, according to the researchers. (ad)