An eating disorder is a dangerous mental illness that affects both men and women. Eating disorders are occur when eating, exercise and body weight/shape become an unhealthy preoccupation of someone's life.
There are a variety of eating disorders that can affect a person, with different characteristics and causes. However in general, eating disorder cases can be linked to low self esteem and an attempt to deal with underlying psychological issues through practicing an unhealthy relationship with food.
A common misconception is that eating disorders are a fad or an attention-seeking attempt. The truth is that eating disorders are serious, and in some cases fatal, mental illnesses which often require psychological and/or physical intervention to promote recovery. It is not uncommon for a person to progress from one eating disorder to another.
Disordered eating refers to a wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, such as chronic restrained eating, compulsive eating and habitual dieting. Disordered eating includes irregular, chaotic eating patterns which may reflect some but not all symptoms of recognized eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. Behaviors or relationships with food which are obsessive, irregular or chaotic may fall under the category of disordered eating when they cause a level of discomfort or disruption to a person’s life.
Disordered eating negatively impacts a person’s emotional, social and physical well-being. While a behavioral pattern may not fall under a specified category of eating disorder, doesn’t mean it cannot have a widespread and destructive impact on a person’s life. Disordered eating patterns may lead to fatigue, depression, malnutrition or decreased concentration, depending on the nature of the behavior.
If you or a loved one has an eating disorder or symptoms of disordered eating, you are not alone.
We are here to help.
Below are a list of resources where you can talk to someone and learn more about eating disorders and disordered eating.
UK Counseling Center »
Behavioral Health Information »
National Eating Disorder Association »