Eating Disorders

We all have to do it - but while for some people, eating is a pleasure, for others the very thought of eating is a source of horror. Newspapers often show shocking pictures of skeletally thin teenage girls 'starving themselves to death', but eating disorders can strike at any age.

Authored by , Reviewed by Dr Hayley Willacy on | Certified by The Information Standard

How do you treat eating disorders?

Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE

Eating disorders all have one thing in common - they all involve problems related to your relationship with food. However, eating disorders are as much or more to do with control (or loss of control) over your body than they are to do with not liking food.


people in the UK affected by an eating disorder

Source: Why is anorexia on the rise?

Food is the tool you use to help you cope with emotional distress, or to feel more in control of your life. Sadly, the food-related behaviour that results can fuel your psychological problems. For instance, self-loathing and low self-esteem are common in bulimia and binge eating disorder. You may feel an overwhelming urge to binge, because it gives you temporary relief from these feelings. However, afterwards you may feel even more disgusted with yourself because of your 'weakness' for giving in to the urge to binge.

So eating disorders are classified together because they have two things in common: the first is an unhealthy relationship with food (too little, too much, only the 'right' kind) and the second is the psychological distress which goes with it. Whatever kind of eating disorder you have, it's likely to have a major impact on your life.

Further reading and references

  • ; Eating Disorders Victoria, 2015

  • ; Eating Disorders Victoria, 2016

  • ;, 2017

  • ; Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Dept of Health.


Виагра профессионал
Health Tools

Eating Disorder Recovery Plan

Tips for nourishing your body while keeping your fears at bay.

View Now
Health Tools

Feeling unwell?

Assess your symptoms online with our free symptom checker.

Start symptom checker

Get Support

On the forums

Eating Disorders

Share your experience with 494 members from our Eating Disorders community.

Join the discussion

Hi guys I am an anxiety sufferer all my life, I'm now 33 but over the past month I have been worrying about choking on food so I have been avoiding solid foods and eating things like soup, soft cheese and yogurts. I was never a big person to begin with and over the past month I have lost about 8 …