Does eating make you feel anxious, guilty or upset? An eating disorder is serious and is not something you should deal with on your own. Talk about it with someone you trust.
If an eating disorder isn't treated, it can have a negative impact on someone's job or schoolwork, and can disrupt relationships with family members and friends. The physical effects of an eating disorder can sometimes be fatal.
Treatment for eating disorders is available, although recovery can take a long time. It's important that the person affected wants to get better, and the support of family and friends is invaluable.
Doctors sometimes use a questionnaire to help identify people who may have an eating disorder. The questionnaire asks the following five questions:
- Do you make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
- Have you recently lost more than one stone (six kilograms) in a three-month period?
- Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
- Would you say food dominates your life?
The most common eating disorders are:
Anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
Bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
Binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time