Do you find your thoughts, behaviours and feelings about food or your body are controlling your life? Does the way you eat and think about food prevent you from engaging in everyday living? Are you obsessed with counting calories and grams of fat? Is your weight the primary focus of your life? All of these factors are indicators of an eating disorder and you should seek help.
Eating disorders are not just about food and weight, they are often a way of coping with complex emotional issues, and they can give the person a false sense of control over their life. Eating disorders are complex and serious illnesses that drastically affect a person’s self-image.
Types of eating disorders
Although Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are the most well known diagnoses, we now recognize Binge Eating, characterized by feeling out of control around food, and consuming large amounts in a short amount of time, for reasons other than hunger. As well, eating disorder behaviours (restrictive dieting, purging, obsessive exercise or use of products to lose weight or build muscle) may not meet full criteria for a diagnosis, but can be just as devastating and most often require support and treatment to recover.
Almost one in 10 people will experience an eating disorder, or significant symptoms in their lifetime; among girls under age twenty, one in five will be affected. Of all individuals who develop an eating disorder, at least one in 10 will be a boy. Although eating disorders most commonly start in adolescence, anyone can be affected, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic, or ethic background.
In almost all cases of eating disorders, dieting or caloric restriction (intentional or not) is the trigger. In fact, restrictive dieting increases the risk of an eating disorder 18 times.
With support and treatment, full recovery is possible.