Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are problems associated with food, eating and body image. People will usually feel unhappy about them self, their appearance and they focus on food as the issue. These problems can become serious for the individual affecting all aspects of their life.

These conditions can affect the person’s well-being seriously, sometimes they have serious medical complications and can even threaten their life. People suffering from an eating disorder can have problems with weight management, body weight and shape and eating habits.

Eating disorders affect females, however, one in ten with an eating disorder is male. In Australia, anorexia nervosa affects 0.5 per cent of females. Bulimia nervosa 2-3 per cent and other eating disorders 2-3 per cent approximately.


Symptoms of Eating Disorders include

Excessive dieting or overeating or purgingFeeling faint, dizzy and weak
Thinking and talking a lot about body image
body weight and food
Going to the bathroom straight after meals
Avoiding social situations that involve foodDifficulty concentrating
Eating only certain types and amounts of foodOften feeling tired and low
Irritable and withdrawn from friends and familyLow self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shame and guilt
Wearing loose-fitting clothing to hide weight lossObsession and anxiety
Wanting to eat alone or Playing with foodExcessive exercise


Types of Eating Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa

People with anorexia will tend to exhibit the following behaviours.

  • Refuse to eat food even when hungry
  • Fear of weight gain and becoming fat, even when underweight
  • Perceptions of their body are inaccurate
  • They are usually in denial about serious weight loss
  • May Stop menstruating (if female)
  • Exercise excessively
  • Intentionally vomit after eating, use diuretics or laxatives to control or reduce weight


Bulimia Nervosa

People with bulimia will exhibit the following behaviours.

  • Binge eat, consuming large quantities of food that is usually fatty or sugary
  • When binging they will feel out of control
  • Compensate binges to avoid weight gain by making themselves vomit or purge. Or by using laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercise excessively
  • People will usually cycle through binging/purging/exercise/binge. They can manage to maintain a healthy weight.


Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating will exhibit the following behaviours which are similar to Bulimia

  • eating a large amount of food on a regular basis
  • overeating and as a consequence, feeling uncomfortable
  • eating even when they’re not hungry
  • secretive about when and what is eaten
  • being embarrassed by the amount of food eaten
  • feeling depressed or guilty and disgusted about overeating


Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

People with binge eating will exhibit the following behaviours

  • checking how you look in mirrors frequently
  • making sure your clean and well groomed frequently
  • touching a part of your body frequently that you don’t like
  • hide or disguise yourself or body part
  • avoiding going out or being with others
  • fix body part through exercise, medication or surgery etc.


Health Problems from Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can lead to serious health problems. Malnutrition or Starvation can lead to osteoporosis, kidney problems, heart problems, constipation or diarrhoea, fainting and headaches. Vomiting exposes the teeth to stomach acid which causes decay and abdominal pain. Laxatives cause constipation or diarrhoea, dehydration and bowel disease.

Eating disorders lead to difficulties in concentrating, at studying or work. They increase the chance of having depression, anxiety, substance misuse, irritability and moodiness.