What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders can affect anybody with an increasing number of males also being affected. An eating disorder can be recognised as an illness which has a negative effect on a person’s quality of life.

There are many types of eating disorders with the main ones listed below:

Anorexia Nervosa

Characterised by:

  • Unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight and a constant desire to lose more weight (can often appear as a large weight loss but is not always the case)
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight
  • Lack of menstruation among girls and women
  • Severe anxiety around food groups (for example fats and carbohydrates) , avoidance of eating in front of people which will often lead to the person telling people they have already eaten
  • Controlling weight through the use of other methods besides restricting which may include excessive exercise, use of slimming pills, diuretics, laxatives, and self-induced vomiting.

Bulimia Nervosa

Characterised by

  • Consuming large quantities of food and feeling out of control during these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by a behaviour that tries to compensate for the overeating for example, self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics, and can involve severe episodes of restricting diet (may include fluids), excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviours.
  • Often people with bulimia usually maintain what is considered a healthy or normal weight, and are sometimes overweight. However, similar to anorexia they is often an intense fear of gaining weight and are extremely unhappy with their body size and shape. Very often those with bulimia carry out their behaviours in secret due to feelings of shame and disgust.

Binge Eating Disorder

  • Regularly eating large portions of food all at once until you feel uncomfortably full, and then often upset or guilty.  People often find it difficult to stop during a binge even if they want to, and some people with binge eating disorder have described feeling disconnected from what they’re doing during a binge, or even struggling to remember what they’ve eaten afterwards.

Whilst we appreciate there are various criteria for diagnosing eating disorders, we will offer help to anyone whose life is affected by their eating issues.