Page written and resources collated by Emily Wheeler, Senior Wellbeing Practitioner
An eating disorder is when you have an unhealthy attitude to food, which can take over your life and make you ill. It can involve eating too much or too little, or becoming obsessed with your weight and body shape.
There are a range of treatments that can help people recover from an eating disorder. Men and women of any age can get an eating disorder, but they most commonly affect young women aged 13 to 17 years old. The most common eating disorders are:
- anorexia nervosa – when you try to keep your weight as low as possible by not eating enough food, exercising too much, or both.
- bulimia – when you sometimes lose control and eat a lot of food in a very short amount of time (binging) and are then deliberately sick, use laxatives, restrict what you eat, or do too much exercise to try to stop yourself gaining weight.
- binge eating disorder (BED) – when you regularly lose control of your eating, eat large portions of food all at once until you feel uncomfortably full, and are then often upset or guilty.
- other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED) – when your symptoms do not exactly match those of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, but it does not mean it's a less serious illness.
OSFED is the most common, then binge eating disorder and bulimia. Anorexia is the least common.