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Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

People can develop eating problems like anorexia and bulimia for many different reasons. It's not just about food, but a sign of much deeper problems. Although it is more common in girls it is not a problem unique to them, boys can also find themselves struggling to come to terms with an eating disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa

A psychological disorder where people suffering from it have a negative view of their own body weight and starve themselves of food on purpose.

Signs and symptoms: Apart from weight loss, symptoms include not being able to sleep, headaches, depression and constipation. Other physical symptoms include skin problems, excess body hair growth and tiredness. Many starve themselves by reducing their food intake to tiny amounts. Girls suffering from anorexia may find their periods stop. Anorexia can permanently damage the digestive system and even prevent people from being able to have children.

Bulimia Nervosa

People with bulimia often overeat and then make themselves sick to get rid of the food. Some people get rid of the food by taking laxatives to cause diarrhoea.

Signs and symptoms: Sufferers go to great lengths to hide their illness, often disappearing to the toilet immediately after meals to be sick. People with bulimia may not look ill and often have a normal body weight. This can make the eating problem really difficult to notice. Many often suffer internal damage to their digestive system and kidneys due to constant vomiting. Being sick can cause rotten teeth because the stomach acids being brought up attacks the enamel on the teeth.

Helping yourself

With some hard work, eating disorders can be overcome and a full recovery can be made. Recovery is possible even after years of illness. Talk to someone who you really trust, whether it's a friend, a family member, a doctor or a trained counsellor.

Helping others

People with eating disorders may try to hide it. If you think that there is a problem, the best thing that you can do is offer your support and encourage them to get help. Some signs to look out for are; Skipping meals or becoming very obsessive about calories, Behaving defensively when asked about food intake, Wearing loose clothes to disguise body shape, Disappearing straight after a meal to go and be sick.

Local contacts

Anorexia and Bulimia Care 01642 423351

For more information

Eating Disorders Association

Adult helpline (over18) 08456341414 (Mon to Fri 8.30am to 8.30pm)

Youth Line 0845634 7650 (Mon to Fri 4 -6.30pm)

National Centre for Eating Disorders 01372 469493 (Mon to Fri 10am to 5pm)