Problems with food, such as compulsive/binge eating, anorexia, bulimia,  orthorexia & dieting failure affect people from every walk of life. There are millions of men and women suffering from chaotic eating, perhaps harbouring persistent weight problems and obsessed with food and weight control.

Control strategies such as dieting, fasting, purging, using laxatives, slimming pills and excessive exercise rarely succeed because the underlying issue needs to be addressed.

A good relationship with food and a healthy weight is central to your physical and emotional well-being.

The main types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder

It is possible for these conditions to co-exist alongside one another.

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious psychological illness. There are two types of anorexia: the restricting type and the binge eating/purging type.

Bulimia Nervosa – Binge eating and purging behaviours are characteristics of bulimia nervosa. There are two types of bulimia: the purging type and the non-purging type.

Binge Eating Disorder – A person with this condition frequently consumes large amounts of food at one sitting while feeling a loss of control over what they are doing.

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified – This is the description used for an eating disorder that has some characteristics of anorexia or bulimia (or both).

Causes of eating disorders include a number of complex, interwoven, social, psychological and biological factors.

Eating disorders often occur as a result of deeper emotional and psychological problems, whereby controlling food intake through overeating or under eating is used as a coping mechanism for feelings such as stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, anger or other difficult emotions.

Body image distortion/negative body image and low self-esteem are strongly implicated as other causes of eating disorders.

Other causes to consider are physiological in nature. It is possible that some people have a genetic predisposition for developing eating disorders, or that eating disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. It has also been suggested that dieting is a slippery slope to an eating disorder.

If you believe that you have problems with the food, you may find it helpful to contact your GP for help and guidance on how to manage this problem more effectively. You may also find it helpful to speak with a counsellor.  The Rainbow Project provides a professional, confidential counselling service and appointments can be made by calling (028) 9031 9030.

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