Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening mental illnesses that can have long term physiological and psychological effects.

A person may develop an eating disorder for a range of reasons, this will differ from person to person; known causes include genetic predisposition and a combination of environmental, social and cultural factors.

It is possible to recover from an eating disorder, even if you have been living with the illness for many years.

Anorexia Nervosa

Women with Anorexia will have restricted energy intake, and a fear of gaining weight, even when they are underweight, starved or malnourished. In addition to restricting their food intake some sufferers will also self-induce vomiting (purging).

They may also develop a disturbed body image, often having a distorted view of their body, seeing themselves as overweight when in reality they are dangerously underweight.

For more information on Anorexia Nervosa, its signs and the associated risks download the National Eating Disorder Collaboration’s (NEDC) fact sheet.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is characterised by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours, which may include;

  • Vomiting
  • Misusing laxatives or diuretics
  • Fasting
  • Excessive exercise

Women with bulimia place an excessive emphasis on body shape or weight in their self-evaluation. This can lead to their sense of self-esteem and self-worth being wholly defined by the way they look.

The eating and exercise habits of a person with bulimia will often go undetected for a long period of time, with sufferers going to great lengths to keep their behaviours secret.

Many people with bulimia do not lose weight. They may experience weight fluctuations, remain in the normal weight range, be slightly underweight, or may even gain weight.

For more information on Bulimia Nervosa, its signs and the associated risks download the NEDC fact sheet.