Eating disorders are mental health problems that involve disordered eating behaviour – this can include eating too little or too much or becoming fixated with one’s weight or shape.
Eating disorders are not simply about food; the behaviours that accompany them may often serve as a coping mechanism or a way to feel in control. The eating disorder charity Beat estimates that around 1.25 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder. In 2007 in England, 6.4% of adults screened positive for a possible eating disorder.
There are several types of eating disorder, including:
- Anorexia nervosa – where someone tries to keep their body weight as low as possible (by for example, not eating enough and / or exercising excessively) and has a distorted view of their body, thinking they are larger than they are.
- Bulimia nervosa – where someone is caught in an unhealthy eating cycle of binge eating then purging to compensate for their overeating, for instance by vomiting or taking laxatives.
- Binge eating – where someone eats excessively in a short period of time in an out-of-control way and feels compelled to do so on a regular basis.
Beat is a charity that provides a range of support on eating disorder: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/
This website provides information for parents as well as students on how to deal with an eating disorder: https://eating-disorders.org.uk/
Anorexia and Bulima care provide a huge range of support, from online chats to other useful reads: http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/
Further advice: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help