Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that negatively affect a persons relationship with food. Anyone, no matter what their age, gender, or background, can develop one.
It’s important to remember that eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. The way eating disorders present themselves can be hugely varied from person to person. This means eating disorders can be difficult to identify, and often those suffering can appear healthy despite being unwell.
Some examples of eating disorders include bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia. Is it a myth that someone has to be underweight to have an eating disorder.
There’s no single cause and people might not have all symptoms for any one eating disorder. Many people are diagnosed with “other specified feeding or eating disorder” or OSFED.
Common Experiences of Eating Disorders
- Worrying about losing control over what you’re eating.
- Controlling your eating habits to the extent they impact on your family and social life, work and studies, what you would call as your normal life activities.
- Being secretive about food and eating.
- Skewed body image.
- Changes in mood.
- Rigid rules around food and eating and what would be considered odd behaviours around food, for example only eating at certain times.
- Binging on and purging food.
- Eating a lot of food very fast.
- Avoiding socialising when you think food will be involved.
“My eating disorder has had some huge impacts on my life, the main one being that I had a heart attack. I have isolated myself from everyone, I lost family and friends."
"I have a lot of damage done to my internal organs, which is only just getting better now, I also have bad nerve damage in my legs.
"I think people glamorise eating disorders and don’t realise how serious they are. A lot of people think it is all about diets and how you look, but it is so much more than that."
- Tommy Kelly
Read Tommy's story here.