The term eating disorder refers to a set of complex, successive conditions typified by psychological and emotional suffering, acute disorders in eating and the physical repercussions of it. There is a lot of variety amongst people in relation to eating behaviours. The most common unhealthy patterns of eating are anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating and binge eating.
Eating problems often develop at the same time as you are going through major life changes such as puberty, going to a new school, concerns around sexual identity or leaving home for the first time. Pressure and stress can also impact on your eating habits. You may crave a particular food, lose your appetite; eat more for comfort; or even become unable to eat at all.
You may find food becoming increasingly important in your life. You may deny yourself anything to eat, even when you are very hungry, or you may eat constantly, or binge. You may find that the subject of food, or how much you weigh, can be on your mind all the time. Food can become a sort of addiction; affecting your life in a very negative way.
It’s important to understand that eating problems aren’t just about food and eating. They are about difficult problems and painful feelings, which you may be finding hard to express, face or resolve. Focusing on food is a way of disguising these problems, even from yourself. Talking to a therapist can help you make sense of the underlying causes and triggers of the eating disorder. It can also help you manage your symptoms and learn new coping tools.