Eating Disorders what are they?

Eating disorders involve serious disturbances in eating behaviour, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight.

What affects someone's eating habits?

Eating is controlled by many factors, including appetite, food availability, family, peers, and cultural practices, and attempts at voluntary control. Dieting to a body weight leaner than needed for health is highly promoted by current fashion trend, sales campaigns for special foods, and in some activities and professions.

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behaviour, rather, they are real, treatable medical illnesses in which certain maladaptive patterns of eating take on a life of their own. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but some reports indicate their onset can occur during childhood or later in adulthood. Eating disorders frequently occur with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance misuse, and anxiety disorders.

In addition, people who suffer from eating disorders can experience a wide range of physical health complications, including serious heart conditions and kidney failure. Therefore recognition of eating disorders as real and treatable illness is critically important.

Females are more likely than males to develop an eating disorder but it is thought that eating disorders in males are greatly under diagnosed, and a significant number of people with eating disorders are male.

For more information and great sources of support please look at www.b-eat.co.uk and www.seedeatingdisorers.org.uk.

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