There are three main types of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Other problematic eating patterns include emotional overeating, pica (eating non-food substances), rumination (chew and spit), night eating syndrome, and orthorexia nervosa (when extreme healthy eating becomes a problem).
Eating disorders outwardly seem to be about an unhealthy relationship with food and related aspects: calories, weight, exercise, body image and so on. However, underlying all this are painful emotions and problems with people using food as a way to control, punish, reward or comfort themselves. At first, food may provide a coping mechanism, a solution to some of life's problems, but this “solution” soon becomes a major problem in its own right.
An eating disorder is a very serious illness affecting sufferers in every aspect of their lives: physically (eg weakened bones and teeth), mentally (eg losing the ability to think clearly and realistically), emotionally (eg increasing anxiety and depression) and behaviourally (eg becoming isolated and secretive). Relationships with family and friends also suffer.
With the appropriate treatment, a full recovery is possible - though the journey for some people may take a long while. Even people who have a deeply entrenched eating disorder can recover. The most important thing is to recognise the problem and seek treatment and support as early as possible.
Eating disorders can be overcome – we bring a message of hope for you.