This condition will often develop as a result of anxiety regarding how a person views their body. An individual with this will usually have a distorted view of themselves often seeing themselves as being much larger than they are. They may develop “rules” around what they feel they can and cannot eat, as well as things like when and where they’ll eat. Anorexia can affect anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity or background.
As well as limiting how much they eat, they may do lots of exercise, make themselves sick, or misuse laxatives to get rid of food they’ve eaten. They may check their weight often or avoid checking their weight at all.
Bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) is a serious mental illness. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity or background. People with bulimia are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food (called bingeing), and then trying to compensate for that overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, (called purging), fasting, or exercising excessively
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
According to Beat, evidence suggests that this is the most common eating disorder.
People with binge eating disorder eat large quantities of food over a short period of time (called binge eating). Unlike people with bulimia, they don’t usually follow this by getting rid of the food through, for example, vomiting, though sometimes they might fast between binges. BED is not about choosing to eat large portions, nor are people who suffer from it just “overindulging” – far from being enjoyable, binges are very distressing, often involving a much larger amount of food than someone would want to eat. People may find it difficult to stop during a binge even if they want to.
Eating disorders can be related to other mental health issues and personal struggles too such as:
- Self harm
- Low self-esteem
- Substance and alcohol misuse