Learn About Ailments | Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are caused by obsessive thoughts and behaviour associated with food leading to physical, mental and emotional problems. Recognised eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating and food deprivation. An eating disorder is typically characterised by a preoccupation with food and diets, a reliance on food to deal with anxiety or stress, low self-esteem or a desire for control. Eating disorders are psychological disorders requiring treatment by trained counsellors and psychotherapists.
Eating Disorders

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Did you know? Causes Of Eating Disorders
Eating Disorder Symptoms Diagnosis
Related Terms Common Misspellings

Eating disorders are obsessive thoughts and behaviour associated with food. An eating disorder can be caused by, or lead to, physical, mental and emotional problems. Recognised eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and food deprivation. An eating disorder is typically characterised by preoccupation with food, reliance on food to deal with anxiety or stress, low self-esteem or desire for control.

• Eating disorders affect over 1 million people in the UK
• Women aged 15-25 are most likely to have an eating disorder
• 10% of people with eating disorders are men
• 20% of men with eating disorders are gay
• The first recorded case of an eating disorder was in the 17th century
• You can't identify someone with an eating disorder by their shape and size alone

Eating disorders are psychiatric conditions caused by various contributory factors associated with behavioural, emotional and social issues. Eating disorders are often coupled with other psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. The two most common forms of eating disorder are anorexia and bulimia.

Common factors that lead to bulimia are low self-esteem, depression, anxiety disorder, OCD and post-traumatic stress disorder. Cultural pressure (media), peer pressure, puberty and family history can also lead to bulimia. Factors leading to anorexia can be from anxiety about the body (weight and shape), low self-esteem, family history, perfectionism, puberty, bullying, abuse, occupational pressure (modelling, dancing) and emotional trauma (from bereavement or divorce).

Bulimia is not just a fear getting fat and sufferers often binge and purge on food as a way to deal with intense emotions and feelings. Nearly two thirds of people with anorexia suffer with depression and over a third of anorexics have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Eating disorders share many common symptoms and complications. Bulimia symptoms are typically bingeing and purging on food. Bingeing is characterised by repeated consumption of large quantities of high-calorie food. Bingeing often occurs without the need to eat or feeling hungry. Bingeing can be pre-planned or spontaneous but occurs on a regular basis. After bingeing, a bulimia sufferer will purge the food due to feelings of guilt or regret and the fear of putting on weight. Purging involves induced vomiting or the use of laxatives to encourage food out of the system. Signs of bulimia can also include over spending on food, weight fluctuation, disappearing after a meal (to go and vomit) or skin scarring on the knuckles from induced vomiting.

The main symptom of anorexia is deliberately losing weight by under-eating, induced vomiting or over-exercising. Like bulimia, anorexia sufferers will excuse themselves from a meal to go and vomit or use laxatives to force food through their system. Anorexics attempt to make their weight as low as possible and the fear of gaining weight affects normal eating. Someone with anorexia will have a pre-occupation with food or cooking and will think about food in a different way. They will often lie about what they've eaten and how often they eat. Anorexics will count calories excessively, avoid social eating, hide food, use slimming pills and have periods of fasting.

Any eating disorder can lead to serious medical conditions such as low blood pressure, kidney failure, osteoporosis, anaemia, infertility, menstrual problems and severe dehydration. People suffering with an eating disorder are likely to have or develop depression or anxiety disorders and may also suffer substance abuse.

Diagnosing an eating disorder often begins by the individual getting help from family or friends. Admitting to an eating disorder is extremely difficult and many people are unable to do so without help. Family and friends often intervene to help the individual confront their problem by taking them to see their GP who can make an accurate diagnosis or refer them to a mental healthcare professional.

A GP will discuss eating habits and check weight and body mass index (BMI). A person with anorexia will weigh 15% less than average and their BMI will be around 17.5 (normal range is 20-25). The GP will also take blood pressure readings and an electrocardiograph (ECG) reading as anorexia sufferers are at risk of heart conditions.

  • Eating Problem
  • Food Binge
  • Excess
  • Extreme Diet/  Dieting
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia 
  • Fasting
  • Slimming
  • Purging
  • Laxatives
  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Management 
  • Body Fat
  • Body Image
  • Obesity 

  • Eating Disorders, Eating Disroder, Eting Disorder  

    Therapies to consider
    Acupuncture Ayurvedic Medicine Chinese Herbal Medicine
    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Counselling EFT
    EMDR Energy Healing Herbal Medicine
    Homeopathy Hypnotherapy Life Coaching
    Naturopathy NLP Nutrition
    Psychotherapy Thought Field Therapy


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