The exact figures for peopling struggle with eating disorders are unknown, but these conditions can affect anyone, at any age, for almost any reason. There are four types of eating disorder:
- Bulimia nervosa
- Anorexia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
- Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)
What is bulimia?
Bulimia is among the most common eating disorders: it’s a tendency to control weight by binge eating and then 'purging' the body of that food. Or in other words, throwing up on purpose. In some cases, someone who’s bulimic will use laxatives to get rid of food: this can be a tricky condition to spot as weight doesn't always change quickly.
What is anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is generally connected to low self-esteem and anxiety, and usually involve an obsession about changing body image by losing weight. Symptoms of anorexia include:
- Severe weight loss
- Feeling irritable, cold, and/or dizzy
- Having trouble sleeping
What is binge eating?
If someone is a ‘binge eater’, then he or she can't stop themselves from eating. It’s also known as compulsive eating or food addiction, and although it tends to develop in young adults, people don't usually seek help until they are in their 30s or 40s. There are several risks associated with binge eating, including:
- High cholesterol/blood pressure
- Some cancers, like bowel cancer and breast cancer
What is EDNOS?
Eating disorders are so complex, some people are diagnosed with EDNOS (an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) as they don't match all the symptoms of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. But that doesn't mean that EDNOS is any less serious.
Getting the right support is essential for the best possible chance of making a full recovery. Between February 23rd and 27th, Beat is running Eating Disorder Awareness Week: asking people to open up about their eating habits and help them overcome their problems.