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About Eating Disorders

What are they and who develops them?

There are several different types of eating disorders, the most common being anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Eating disorders are mental health conditions that all involve an unhealthy relationship with food and eating, and often an intense fear of being overweight.

While it is common to be afraid of losing weight, overeating sometimes or skipping meals if we do not feel like it, an eating disorder is distinguished from all of those by being something that is constant. It can take a long time to recover from an eating disorder.


Common Types Of
Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder characterised by low weight, fear of gaining weight and a strong desire to be thin, resulting in food restriction. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are in fact underweight. If asked they usually deny they have a problem with low weight. Often, they weigh themselves frequently, eat only small amounts or only eat certain foods. Some will exercise excessively and/ or use laxatives to produce weight loss.

Bulimia nervosa, also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterised by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time. Purging refers to the attempts to get rid of the food consumed. This is usually done by vomiting. Other efforts to lose weight may include the use of diuretics, stimulants, water fasting, or excessive exercise.  Sufferers of bulimia have an intense fear of becoming overweight and usually keep within the normal body weight ranges, though their weight may fluctuate.  This means that bulimia can be kept hidden, unlike anorexia.

Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by frequent and recurrent binge eating episodes with associated negative psychological and social problems, but without subsequent purging episodes (e.g. vomiting).

Binge eating is one of the most prevalent eating disorders among adults.