What are Eating Disorders?

The fact that you are reading this web site probably means that you are concerned about the eating habits of either yourself or someone you care about.

Statistics on the number of people in the UK who suffer with Eating Disorders are vague, however the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), suggest that 1.6million people in the UK are affected by Eating Disorders. It is estimated that 10% of sufferers are 'anorexic', 40% 'bulimic' and the remainder fall into 'eating disorders not otherwise specified' (EDNOS) which includes binge eating.

Whilst labels such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are not always helpful physical and behavioural indications of these disorders can be as described below.

 

Anorexia

Physical symptoms                                            Behavioural symptoms
Severe weight loss
Difficulty sleeping and tiredness
Dizziness
Stomach pains                                  
Constipation
Feeling cold             
Growth of soft downy fine hair all over the body.    
Irritability and mood swings
Hair falls out
Setting high standards and perfection
Difficulty concentrating
Secretive behaviour
Change in personality
Becomes secretive
Change in personality
Ritual and obsessive behaviour
Lying about eating
Trying to please everyone
Cooking food for others
Wearing baggy clothes

 

Sufferers of anorexia sometimes talk about having a 'voice' in their head, telling them that they don't deserve to eat or that they are fat and useless. A suffer may feel that they are in control of their eating, however it can become more and more difficult to ignore the voice in their head

 

Bulimia

Physical symptoms                                            Behavioural symptoms
Sore throat
Bad breath and mouth ulcers
Stomach pains
Irregular period
Dry or poor skin
Difficulty sleeping
Constipation
Puffy cheeks
Dehydration
Fainting
Kidney and bowel problems
Eating large quantities of food
Being sick after binging or eating
Taking laxatives
Being secretive or lying

 

Someone suffering from Bulimia may feel emotional or depressed. They may also feel out of control, have mood swings and be obsessed with dieting.

Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)

You may have eating habits that cause your problems in your life but do not fit neatly into a category. Whilst sometimes it is helpful to label someone's eating habits, sometimes it is not. You many want to find help before a situation gets to a point where it is categorised an 'official' eating disorder.