About Eating Distress/Eating Disorders

Eating distress occurs most often when an individual is feeling unable to cope with areas of their day-to-day life. Eating distress often begins when an individual is attempting to take control in one area of their life, whilst feeling they have lost all control in other areas.

At some time most of us will experience dissatisfaction with our body shape or size. This starts to become a problem when an obsession with food begins to dominate an individual’s life, or when they start to use food in a damaging way. There are a variety of types of eating distress. Each has its own symptoms and each may cause different physical problems.

The most commonly recognised forms of eating distress or eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Some people might experience more than one of these forms of eating distress and very often they overlap. There are many people who suffer with other types of eating distress such as feeling they eat ‘compulsively’ or for ‘comfort’ or ‘control’.

Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is an obsession with food, usually incorporating a refusal to eat, and a desire to lose weight even when at a low weight already. Someone with anorexia usually has a very distorted body image.

Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia nervosa manifests itself in a different way, whereby people tend to overeat, perhaps in ‘binges’ but then vomit or use laxatives to purge their bodies of what they have consumed. Bulimia can also include people restricting food by dieting or using other compensatory behaviours such as over exercising in order to lose weight.

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder leads people to binge on large quantities of food, but without getting rid of the food in any destructive way. This can lead to excessive weight gain. Compulsive eating is often viewed within this category. Those who identify as eating compulsively or comfort eating, often eat continuously throughout the day. They may not realise just how much they are eating and this can feel very out of control.