- Eating too little, too much, thinking about food or calories all of the time, or making yourself sick after eating can be signs of an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders include bulimia, anorexia and binge eating.
- Eating disorders can affect anyone.
- If you’re struggling with your eating habits, there is help available.
Eating disorders are mental health conditions. While we often see them portrayed in very specific ways on the tv and in the media, eating disorders are different for everybody. There are many types of eating disorder, as well as different levels of severity.
It’s estimated that about 1.25 million people are dealing with eating disorders in the UK. They affect people from all genders, backgrounds and ages. Full recovery is possible, so getting the help you need is very important if you’re experiencing an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are often linked to other mental health conditions including body dysmorphia and OCD. While conversations in the media often focus on the most severe types of eating disorder, they often happen gradually without you realising.
If you’re having problems with your eating, or feel that your circumstances or relationships are affecting how or what you eat, then you can talk to CALM. CALM’s trained helpline staff are available from 5pm to midnight everyday. They can offer a listening ear, as well help on ways for you to move forward with whatever you’re going through. You can find out more about eating disorders at BEAT – the UK’s eating disorder charity.
How does having an eating disorder affect you?
Eating disorders are serious conditions, but they are also treatable and manageable. The earlier you recognise you’re experiencing problems with your eating habits and seek help, the better.
Everyone’s experience is different but below are a few common symptoms or signs that you might have or be developing an eating disorder.
- Thinking about food or calories a lot of the time
- Controlling how much or little you eat to help you feel better about a worry or anxiety
- Exercising excessively to counteract any food you eat
- Avoiding socialising or activities where food or drink will be involved
- Developing strict rules or routines around food
- Struggling to carry out your everyday life because of physical symptoms like dizziness, tiredness, or coldness
- Lack of confidence
- What you feel about your body doesn’t match up to what other people say
- Making yourself sick or taking laxatives after eating
- Being disgusted by yourself or what you eat
Why do people experience eating disorders?
Eating disorders can be a way of coping with circumstances, relationships or situations that are making someone feel low or out of control. No one chooses to have an eating disorder, and no one is to blame when an eating disorder develops – especially not the person experiencing it.
Dealing with an eating disorder
It’s possible to make a full recovery from an eating disorder, so getting the help you or someone you care about needs is important. Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions and no one should face them alone. Eating disorders can be fatal if not dealt with, so the sooner someone gets help, the better.
BEAT – The UK’s Eating Disorder Charity, has some useful resources here, to help you get support.
If you are worried about your own behaviour you can find more information here.
Where can I find help?
Talk to CALM from 5pm to midnight everyday. Our professional helpline workers are there to talk about whatever is getting you down. Calls and webchats are free, anonymous, non-judgemental and confidential.
Outside of these hours, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Contact your GP for an appointment.