What are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are medical and psychological conditions that manifest as disturbed eating patterns. Some of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Often trivialised as the “slimmers disease”, eating disorders are not just about food but an outward sign of deep psychological and emotional turmoil, an unconscious attempt to avoid or control painful feelings.
Who is most likely to suffer from an eating disorder?
Eating disorders can occur in all age groups but are commonest among young people in their teens and early twenties. There are many more people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and older who also suffer from eating disorders and recent research reports that the number of young people under the age of 14 who develop anorexia is also on the increase.
Nine times more females than males suffer from eating disorders.
No single cause of eating disorders has been identified. Causes are particular to each individual and may arise as an unhealthy coping strategy to avoid difficult and painful emotional issues; a way of asserting control over your life or as a reaction to stress. Often the disorder will develop as a result of unresolved feelings that span back over a number of years or following a series of events that make a person feel that they are no longer able to cope. These could include life events and personal or family situations such as…
• Family problems
• Sexual or emotional abuse
• Problems at work or school
• Striving to be a perfectionist
• Lack of close friends
• The belief that to be successful or loved you have to be thin
• Eagerness to please others
• Fear of growing up