Eating disorders all have one thing in common - they all involve problems related to your relationship with food. However, eating disorders are as much or more to do with control (or loss of control) over your body than they are to do with not liking food. Also see Types of Eating Disorder.
people in the UK affected by an eating disorder
Source: Why is anorexia on the rise?
Food is the tool you use to help you cope with emotional distress, or to feel more in control of your life. Sadly, the food-related behaviour that results can fuel your psychological problems. For instance, self-loathing and low self-esteem are common in bulimia and binge eating disorder. You may feel an overwhelming urge to binge, because it gives you temporary relief from these feelings. However, afterwards you may feel even more disgusted with yourself because of your 'weakness' for giving in to the urge to binge.
So eating disorders are classified together because they have two things in common: the first is an unhealthy relationship with food (too little, too much, only the 'right' kind) and the second is the psychological distress which goes with it. Whatever kind of eating disorder you have, it's likely to have a major impact on your life.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, January 2021
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its guidance on eating disorders. They have made new recommendations on:
Eating disorders: recognition and treatment; NICE Guideline (May 2017 - last updated December 2020)
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth revision - ICD-10; Eating Disorders Victoria, 2015
Classifying eating disorders - DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Eating Disorders Victoria, 2016
The Authorized Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test; Orthorexia.com, 2017
Body Mass Index (BMI) charts for girls and boys age 2-18; Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Dept of Health.
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