Does an Eating Disorder Count as a Disability?

Many people underemphasize the seriousness of eating disorders, however, these disorders are often very serious and sometimes can be fatal. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, pica and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders negatively affect many men and women of all ethnicities and ages and come in many forms.

Many of these disorders can lead to heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, changes in hormones, psychological effects, neurological problems, blood problems, organ failure or dehydration and esophageal problems.

Four eating disorders are recognized by The Canadian Disability Tax Credit Program, and while this does not speak to your individual insurance policy, it’s interesting information to know.

These Eating Disorders Include:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight. The disorder often comes with a fear of weight gain and body image issues which have no basis in reality. A lack of nutrition leads to stress on the heart, can stop menstruation, and can lead to bone loss, organ failure and even death.


Picainvolves the compulsive habit of ingesting non-nutritional and even non-food items (like glass, chalk, etc).

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves “binging and purging”, a recurrent cycle of overeating and other behaviors designed to offset the binge. Often involves self-induced vomiting or laxatives. May also involve over-exercising, fasting or the use of diuretics.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder involves an uncontrollable compulsion to overeat. Those affected are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even certain cancers.

The four eating disorders listed above are not the only eating disorders out there. There are many other non-specific debilitating eating disorders that go undiagnosed and do not qualify for disability benefits. In order to receive disability benefits from your insurance company for an eating disorder, you will need a formal medical diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist or doctor. It is also wise to talk to a disability law firm, like Share Lawyers, to learn what you are entitled to and what documentation you will be required to present to your insurance company.

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