The term “eating disorder” refers to a complex, potentially life-threatening condition, characterised by severe disturbances in eating behaviours.
Eating disorders can be seen as a way of coping with emotional distress, or as a symptom of underlying issues.
Important things to know about eating disorders are:
- food and eating is only part of the equation, the focus on food is a symptom of underlying emotional difficulties
- people can and do recover
- eating disorders can affect anyone.
Young people experiencing an eating disorder may:
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- have low self-esteem (it may not be obvious, as people with eating disorders are often ‘high achievers’)
- show over-concern with body shape, weight and size, and an obsession with food
- see thinness as a magical solution to problems, while weight gain is feared
- view their body as larger than it actually is (distorted body image)
- have problems around control
- find it hard to talk about their feelings and to deal with conflict
- be depressed and may become isolated or experience mood swings.
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