A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging
results to their health.
Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. The most common eating disorders
- anorexia nervosa, when someone tries to keep their weight as low as possible, for example by starving themselves or exercising excessively
- bulimia, when someone tries to control their weight by binge eating and then deliberately being sick or using laxatives (medication to help empty their bowels)
- binge eating, when someone feels compelled to overeat
Eating disorders are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. However, the causes are usually more complex.
There may be some biological or influencing factors, combined with an experience that may provoke the disorder, plus other factors that encourage
the condition to continue.
Risk factors that can make someone more likely to have an eating disorder include:
- having a family history of eating disorders, substance misuse or depression
- being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
- overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job (for example ballet dancers, models or athletes)
- difficult relationships with family members or friends
- stressful situations, for example problems at work, school or university
A person who is wasting away because they are afraid of food and gaining weight is in great distress. Counselling can help with psychological causes of food-related problems ,the type of eating issue can be particular to the individual, and needs to be understood in order to find ways of working through it.
- Counselling will try to help you to make changes
- gain awareness and understandings of any underlying issues
- Think of ways to improve your situation and how to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.
- develop a more healthy relationship with food