Eating Disorders

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.

Useful guidance:

Beat is a charity that provides a range of support on eating disorder:

This website provides information for parents as well as students on how to deal with an eating disorder:

Anorexia and Bulima care provide a huge range of support, from online chats to other useful reads:

Further advice: