What are eating disorders?
An eating disorder is when a person’s eating habits and relationship with food becomes difficult. Eating problems can disrupt how a person eats food and absorbs nutrients, which affects physical health, but can also be detrimental both emotionally and socially.
The three most common eating disorders are:
- Anorexia nervosa (restricted food intake and/or excessive exercise)
- Bulimia nervosa (binge eating followed by deliberate purging)
- Binge-eating disorder (BED) (episodes of overeating in a short space of time)
Eating disorders often occur alongside other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance misuse disorders.
What are the causes of eating disorders?
There is no single reason why someone may develop an eating disorder - it can be the result of a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental, social and biological factors. While they can be very serious mental health conditions they are also treatable and, although it may take a long time, full recovery is possible.
How do you treat an eating disorder?
Treatment normally consists of monitoring a person’s physical health while addressing the underlying psychological problems with psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or family therapy. Medication such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be used to treat bulimia nervosa or binge eating.
Exploring new ways to treat and prevent eating disorders
How does appetite and a parents’ approach to feeding impact the development of eating disorders?More about this project