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 purging
  • Thinking and talking a lot about body image
    body weight and food
  • Avoiding social situations that involve food
  • Eating only certain types and amounts of food
  • Irritable and withdrawn from friends and family
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing to hide weight loss
  • Wanting to eat alone or Playing with food
  •  Feeling faint, dizzy and weak
  • Going to the bathroom straight after meals
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Often feeling tired and low
  • Low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shame and guilt
  • Obsession and anxiety
  •  Excessive 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.

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.