Food issues and disordered eating

The following is not a diagnostic tool, a therapeutic tool, or anything like that, it is guide that spells out – at a very high level – the landscape of disordered eating. If you suspect you have these or similar issues book and appointment with your GP who will be very helpful and understanding and help you decide which is the best way to proceed. There are also links at the bottom for more info, help and guidance.

Disordered Eating anorexia and bulimia nervosa

Issues with food and eating disorders fall into a range of categories depending upon clinical significance and symptoms, they can be of varying degrees of severity. It’s worth remembering that what we eat and, how we’re driven to eat and our behaviours around food are part of a complex web of physiological, psychological, emotional, social and socioeconomic factors.

Eating and how you eat – the what when, where’s, why’s, why-not’s, and so on – are complex things and many factors can have an impact, both large and small, on eating behaviour. Food now occupies a slightly different position in our much changed lifestyle, we are no longer hand to mouth and just getting by on enough food to drive our hard lifestyles. The relationship is different.

Disordered Eating

This is a range of different issues that surround food and eating behaviours. They’re often ‘sub clinical’ or ‘not clinically significant’ in so much as they’re not hugely impacting health, though this doesn’t mean they aren’t worth addressing.

Often these ‘mild’ issues go un diagnosed and un resolved,

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

This is a broad classification really meaning that there is some form of eating disorder, but one that though enough to warrant treatment, may not technically fall into BN or AN, this is not to say that the issue is not any less severe.

Anorexia Nervosa

This literally means a psychological loss of appetite and as that suggests is characterised by a inappropriate reduction in food intake, or the desire for this. It can also include a desire of fixation on losing weight and having a low body weight. It’s most common in women and it tends to come on in the teenage years.

Bulimia Nervosa

The classic symptoms of this disease of ‘nervous hunger’, is the binge and purge behaviour. Most are familiar with the overeating then induced vomiting, but is may also include things like chronic exercise, chewing food and spitting is out and the use of laxative medication, where the sufferer intends to absorb as little of the calories as possible, or in the case of exercise burn them off.

Diagnosis and getting help

Diagnosis of these issues above is not easy, and a sufferer may well alternate between different behaviours going from an anorexic state to one of binging and purging for example These issues are also usually accompanied by other psychological issues as well as the very physical problems caused by these behaviours.

These conditions can be very serious. If you find anything familiar in the above, or think you may know someone who has some type of eating pathology then please have a click through of the links bellow.


B-Eat, a large UK based organisation concerned with eating disorders HERE

The NHS guide to eating disorders HERE

The NHS guide to getting help for you, or someone you know (it covers anorexia but the info is valid for all the above) HERE

MIND’s guide to eating disorders HERE

MIND  are a UK mental health organisation who can also put you in touch with someone to talk to in your area. Contact them HERE


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