Eating disorders are more than a lifestyle choice or form of dieting. They are serious, sometimes fatal conditions involving severe alterations in eating behaviors and harmful body image issues. Eating disorders are also treatable and recovery is possible.
The three main categories of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These disorders can cause distressing thoughts about body weight and shape, which leads to dangerous alterations in eating patterns. Learn more below.
TYPES OF EATING DISORDERS
This five-minute Psych2Go video shares information on six different types of eating disorders.
ANSWERS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS
Real people share their experiences with eating disorders in Buzzfeed’s “Questions You’re Too Afraid to Ask About Eating Disorders.”
JOURNEY TO RECOVERY
Over 1.2 million people have watched Catherine Pawley share her story of recovery after struggling with anorexia.
This article from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMS) explores eating disorders, their symptoms and health impacts, and offers resources to learn more and find support.
There is often shame and secrecy around eating disorders that can make anyone struggling with these conditions feel more alone and hopeless. The first step to breaking that cycle of silence is to talk to someone about your thoughts, feelings and eating behaviors.
Trying to figure out how to deal with emotional struggles while we’re actually experiencing them can be challenging. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to breathe, move, meditate or even make a gratitude list to help manage those feelings. Headspace offers a range of free videos to help.
TALK ABOUT IT
Too many people struggle with eating disorders in silence because they’re afraid people will judge them or that they’ll burden others. Eating disorders are treatable medical conditions, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Lean on your support network and talk about how you’re feeling (trust us, it helps).
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Our mental and physical health are intertwined, so it’s important to pay attention to both. Not getting enough sleep or unhealthy coping strategies like self-injury and numbing with drugs or alcohol can worsen symptoms of an eating disorder. It’s okay to step back and take some time for yourself while you’re also reaching out for help and taking actions to feel better.
In many cases, symptoms of eating disorders don’t go away on their own, and when unaddressed, they can negatively impact work, school, relationships and long-term health and wellness. Don’t wait until things get worse. Reach out for help from a professional. You can find resources below or visit our help-seeking page (link) to learn more.
These resources can help you find professional support online, on the phone or in person. And if you or a friend are having thoughts of suicide, reach out immediately for a free, confidential chat with a trained counselor anytime.