Regular monitoring is crucial for people suffering from eating disorders, since even the smallest changes in a person’s eating habits could develop into severe health problems. Eating disorders are also hard to spot, especially if the affected individual is of a normal weight.
The American Psychiatric Association only recently recognized binge eating disorder as a diagnosable condition. It defines binge eating as "recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control."
Bulimia is an eating disorder closely related to anorexia. A person suffering from bulimia alternates between binging and purging. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, bulimics usually appear to be of average body weight which makes it harder to identify affected individuals.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other psychiatric illness. Anorexia, in particular, has a mortality rate 12 times higher than any other cause of death in women ages 15 to 24, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.