Eating disorders are psychological disorders that manifest themselves as disordered eating, causing harm to the body.
- Anorexia nervosa- those suffering from this disorder have a distorted body image and think they look heavy even when they become extremely thin. Those with anorexia starve themselves in varying degrees causing significant weight-loss and in extreme cases causing death from malnutrition and low weight. Anorexia can lead to fragile bones and muscle loss that can make a person look like a skeleton, heart damage that can lead to heart attack and death, cessation of periods and ovulation, infections such as lung infections, skin damage that can manifest in flabby skin, wrinkles, dryness and change in skin tone, thinning of hair on the head and prevention of hair growth in other parts of the body, digestive problems, severe dehydration that harms the body's systems, and more.
- Bulimia nervosa- those suffering from bulimia ingest large amounts of food in a short period of time and then cause themselves to purge it - primarily through vomiting but also through using laxatives, enemas, long fasts or excessive physical activity. The disease has extensive health implications, including the disruption of potassium balance in the body, teeth damaged by frequent contact with stomach acids, the risk of tears in the esophagus, and more. Loss of potassium can cause irregular heartbeat and heart attack.
- Compulsive eating- those who suffer from this struggle with constant eating and binge eating, and most of them are obese.
The Health Care System
Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers
- There are clinics and hospital units around the country that specialize in treating eating disorders.
- There are also rehabilitation homes for young women (and men) after hospitalization.
- For a list of frameworks for treatment and hospitalization for eating disorders on the Ministry of Health website.
- For a list of treatment centers and rehabilitation homes on the Israeli Association of Eating Disorders website.
- Psychiatric Hospitalization can be either full hospitalization or a day patient program. Full hospitalization is for the more difficult and long lasting psychological disorders and are divide into 2 categories:
- Voluntary hospitalization with the patient's consent.
- Involuntary hospitalization against the patient's will.
- In cases of minors (under age 18) suffering from anorexia: If psychiatric hospitalization (or treatment) is necessary and the minor or his/her parents are against it, there are legal options through which treatment can be forced by a court order. For more information see:
According to the recent court ruling, determining whether anorexia is considered a "mental health issue" and whether hospitalization can be forced is not clear cut and there is a professional and legal dispute on the issue (except in cases where a significant mental illness was diagnosed in addition to anorexia). In any event, the determination of whether this is a "mental health issue" is done according to the specific circumstances and the severity of the symptoms of the disease. It should be noted that the court ruling referred to cases where the sick person is an adult, and it is not clear whether this is also relevant to minors.
- For more information about involuntary psychiatric hospitalization in cases of anorexia and for a list of treatment and hospitalization frameworks for eating disorders see the Ministry of Health website.
- Children who are hospitalized are entitled to learn in schools that are run in the hospitals by the Ministry of Education. For more information see Education for Hospitalized Children.
- Children who return to school after a prolonged absence because of medical reasons are entitled to educational and/or emotional support. For more information see Aid for Children Returning to the Educational System After a Prolonged Illness.
Benefits and Rehabilitation Basket
Children and Adolescents
- Children and adolescents (up to age 18 and 3 months) that suffer from severe eating disorders may be eligible for a disabled child's benefit:
- Someone who is in regular psychiatric treatment for a severe eating disorder is eligible for for a benefit of 50%.
- Someone who has an uncontrollable urge to eat due to an organic disorder and chromosomal deficiency (such as a child with Prader-Wili syndrome) is eligible for a disabled child benefit of 100%.
- For more information see Disabled Child Benefit for Children with Eating Disorders.
- For more information on the benefit and related rights, see Disabled Child Benefit and Related Benefits.
Adults above Age 18
- General Disability Pension:
- Someone age 18 and above that suffers from an eating disorder may be eligible for a General Disability Pension if it was determined that they have a medical disability of at least 40% and an incapacity level of at least 60%.
- For more information on the pension and its related benefits see Disability Pension and Related Benefits.
- Rehabilitation Basket:
- Additional benefits are given to those who have an established medical disability which is not contingent on the level of incapacity or eligibility for a disability pension.
- For more information see Rights for People with Medical Disabilities that are not Contingent on Receiving a Disability Pension.
- Israeli Association of Eating Disorder
- Nofit Community Projects
- For a list of Health and Illness/Aid Organizations
Laws and Regulations
- Procedure no. 76.101 from 01.03.2019 - Procedures for running day treatment centers for eating disorders.
- Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization in Cases of Anorexia on the Ministry of Health website.
- Eating Disorders on wikipedia
- Eating Disorders - Anorexia, bulimia and everything in between on the Ministry of Education website
- Mental Health Branch Procedure no. 76.101 from 01.03.2019 - Procedures for running day treatment centers for eating disorders.
- English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.