Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not primarily about food, but can be seen as a way of coping with distress or other underlying issues. For the person with an eating disorder, controlling food and the body is their way of relieving distress and achieving some degree of control over their life.

The two most serious eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa (Anorexia) and Bulimia Nervosa (Bulimia). Eating disorders can affect anybody male or female, young or old. With appropriate help and support, people can and do recover from eating disorders.

Eating disorders can be complex. There are variations in the typical signs, and not all symptoms will apply to all people.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders
  • Refusal to eat
  • Excessive thinking and talking about food
  • Feeling worthless
  • Being underweight
  • Binge eating
  • Weight going up and down
  • Trying to be “perfect”
  • Fear of being overweight

Even if you don’t have these symptoms, if you are worried and upset by something, it is important you find someone to talk to. Don’t bottle it all up.

Eating disorders do not include illnesses of the digestive system. If you are concerned about changes in your eating behaviour, or those of a friend, contact your GP to check it out.

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Disclaimer: Please be aware that the information in this section is not intended as a substitute for clinical diagnosis or to replace the advice of a medical professional. If concerned, please contact your family doctor or phone the Samaritans on 116 123, or visit

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