What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is when someone has an abnormal relationship with food that causes them to change their eating habits and their behaviour. This can lead people to make unhealthy decisions about food that can have a damaging effect on their health.
What are the different types of eating disorders?
The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, is when someone tries to keep his or her weight as low as possible, usually by starving themselves or by exercising obsessively. Bulimia is when someone tries to control their weight by binge eating and then making themselves sick or taking medication to empty their bowels. Binge eating is when someone feels compelled to overeat.
What are the common causes of an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are often blamed on the pressure to be thin. Pressure can stem from friends, family, the workplace and often the media. However, it is also possible that the cause is much more complex than this. Some experts believe that if you have a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse then you could be more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. Certain characteristics, such as an obsessive personality, can also make someone more likely to develop an eating disorder.
Is anorexia more common than bulimia?
No, it is thought that bulimia is five times more common than anorexia. However, due to the difficulty of quantifying binge eating, it is not exactly clear how widespread the condition actually is
What treatment is available to help someone beat eating disorders?
There are several different types of treatment available for those who are suffering with an eating disorder. Treatment generally involves monitoring a person’s physical health while helping them deal with the psychological causes. Some people may be advised to go through a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing how they think about certain situations. Alternatively, interpersonal psychotherapy treatment is available, which involves talking about relationship-based issues. There is also dietary counselling to help people maintain a healthy diet
The information provided within this article has been sourced via http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eating-disorders/pages/introduction.aspx; NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erectile-dysfunction and www.nhs.uk/conditions/infertility
By Lauren King