Eating disorder (A guide)

Eating disorder
Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

This blog will be discussing about the diagnosis of eating disorder, the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, the definition of binge-eating disorder, the types of eating disorders, the meaning of this mental illness, the vomiting to lose weight, the feeling of starving to lose weight, the names under this kind of disorder, and the control in this disorder.

Disorder eating

Psychological disorders can come when it comes to a change in eating habits due to the distorted perception of the body image. This psychological disorder is called an eating disorder. The consideration that the person will be diagnosed with an eating disorder is when the change in eating habits has caused distress and dysfunction upon the person. The distress is seen by the person if he or she is afraid of going to a restaurant with a buffet and keeps going to the bathroom after eating in a restaurant.

Dysfunction can be manifested when the person can’t concentrate on work or school and the person appears weak due to lack of food. The person with an eating disorder may try to give him or her distress by looking at food to make the person full. Most affected patients think that this can help since this solution doesn’t involve an intake of large amounts of food. The person may accidentally kill himself or herself due to starvation because of fear of getting fat.

Eating disorder (A guide)

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder that is described as a significant loss of weight and distorted body image of the self. People who are suffering from this kind of eating disorder tend to do excessive exercising to lose perceived fats. Some patients who are suffering from this kind of psychological disorder are not fat in reality. Most patients have a normal healthy weight for their age and height before the anorexia restriction.

This is why this kind of psychological disorder is characterized by the perceived image of body shape. These patients tend to eat only small amounts of food and can restrict eating at all costs. Some patients engage in light eating when they are in front of family members or other loved ones but the patient will restrict and exercise once these people are gone. These patients keep restricting their eating and exercise excessively because the control they have over these activities make them feel better about themselves.

Eating disorder (A guide)

What are eating disorders

Eating disorders are kinds of psychological disorders that emphasize the unhealthy eating habits of a possible patient. These eating habits are the amount of intake, rumination, vomiting, using laxatives, and other activities that may happen after eating such as exercising. These kinds of disorders were made as diagnoses to treat people who have strange habits that may cost them their lives. These kinds of treatment can help these affected people to be aware that it’s better to have good nutrition than ideal body weight.

These kinds of psychological disorders may arise from the concept of ideal body weight. Normal body weights are made between men and women but most audiences focus on what it means to have an ideal body weight since this can give the person more affection as most advertisements would say. Nutritionists are restrictive about the concept of ideal body weights since everyone is born with different body shape and taking less food which is unsuitable for the body shape may lead to physical side effects that may affect the proper maturation of the patient. You can learn more about body shapes and the ideal weight by buying this book on this website.

What is an eating disorder

An eating disorder is a kind of psychological disorder that is characterized as having an unhealthy attitude to food which can take over the person’s life and make he or she sick. It can involve eating too much or too little or the patient becoming obsessed with his or her weight and body shape. These kinds of psychological disorders act as a coping mechanism for affected people to feel more in control. This control is usually reported by patients since this feeling from the restriction of eating makes them feel more powerful.

This is why this turns into a never-ending cycle for patients. This is also the reason why most affected people don’t look for treatment or keep up with treatment. Some of these affected people tend to be referred by loved ones if they that the person’s behaviour and weight are not normal. You can learn more about these kinds of psychological disorders by buying this book on this website.

Binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder is a kind of eating disorder that involves regularly eating large portions of food all at once until the person feels uncomfortably full and then become upset or guilty.

Binge episodes are often planned in advance and the person may buy special binge foods.

Men and women of any age can get this kind of eating disorder but this kind of disorder usually starts in the late teens or early 20s. The main symptom of this kind of eating disorder is eating large amounts of food in a short time, usually in an uncontrollable way.

Other symptoms include eating very fast during a binge episode are eating until the person feels uncomfortably full, eating when the patient is not hungry, the patient usually eats alone or secretly, and feeling depressed or guilty after this kind of eating. Loved ones can also see specific warning signs that indicate that the person has this kind of eating disorder. These warning signs are eating a lot of food at fast speeds, trying to hide how much patients are eating, storing up large supplies of food, and putting on weight. With the right treatment and support, most people recover from this kind of eating disorder but this kind of treatment takes time.

Eating disorder (A guide)

Eating disorders types

Types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental illness where people are of low weight due to the restriction of their energy intake. This kind of disorder can affect any person of any age, gender, or background. As well as restricting the amount of food eaten, these affected people may do lots of exercising to get rid of the food eaten. 

Some people with this kind of disorder may experience cycles of bingeing and purging. Purging is when the person forces himself or herself to puke out all the food. Binge eating disorder is also a serious mental illness where people experience a loss of control and eat large quantities of food on a daily basis. This kind of disorder can affect any person of any age, gender, or background as anorexia nervosa.

Bulimia nervosa is also a serious mental illness like most eating disorders. This kind of disorder can affect any person of any age, gender, or background. People with this kind of disorder are caught in a cycle of eating large quantities of food which is also known as bingeing and trying to compensate for that overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting and exercising excessively. Early intervention offers the best chance for a rapid and sustained recovery from this kind of disorder.

Eating disorder definition

An eating disorder is when a person has an unhealthy attitude to food which can take over the person’s life and make he or she ill. This kind of disorder can involve eating too much or too little and becoming obsessed with one’s weight and body shape. Several treatments that can help a patient recover from this kind of disorder. Men and women of any age can get this kind of disorder but these kinds of disorders most commonly affect young women aged 13 to 17 years old.

Symptoms of this kind of disorder focus on the body and perceptions of the body. These people also tend to take laxatives to help lower body weight. This kind of disorder is diagnosed when the patient meets the requirements for each kind of this disorder. You can learn more about the effects of laxatives by buying this book on this website.

Eating disorder (A guide)

Do I have disordered eating

The diagnosis of having an eating disorder can be based on a person’s feelings and behaviours regarding their eating habits. Studies suggest around a quarter of people with eating disorders are male and most patients with this kind of disorder are usually female.

15% of the calls to the Beat Helpline were about someone aged 40 or over who have this kind of disorder. 80-85% of people with eating disorders are not underweight.

Stereotypes about who gets eating disorders might make them even harder to spot among older people, men, and ethnic and cultural minority groups. The real number of sufferers overall could be much higher than most psychologists think but particularly among groups that were mentioned. A person’s circumstances, feelings, and symptoms may be very different from what most people have seen or read about but that doesn’t mean someone can’t have this kind of disorder. The way this kind of disorder presents itself can be greatly varied from person to person which means that someone could have this kind of disorder right now without him or her knowing it. 

Anorexia definition

Anorexia is an eating disorder and a serious kind of mental health illness. People who have this kind of disorder try to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food or exercising too much or even doing both of these activities at the same time. This can make them very ill because they are engaging in these activities that could starve them. These people often have a distorted image of their bodies which is thinking that they are fat even when they are considered as underweight for their age and height.

Men and women of any age can get this kind of disorder but this disorder is most common in young women and usually starts in the mid-teens. One of the symptoms of this kind of disorder is that the patient has a low body mass index than the expected index for his or her age. The patient may also have the physical effects of extreme dieting through the loss of hair and the brittleness of the skin. You can learn more about this disorder by buying this book here.

Mental illness eating disorder

An eating disorder is considered as a mental illness since it causes distress and dysfunction on the patient. The patient feels distressed since he or she will keep finding ways to lower weight since the patient keeps seeing that his or her weight is not perfect. Some parents, especially mothers, are persuasive to their daughters or sons to keep on getting the perfect body. This can make these children pressured to meet standards that are impossible to meet.

Making yourself sick after eating

People who make themselves sick after eating large amounts of food are considered to have bulimia nervosa. People with this disorder are fearful of getting fat and are willing to get rid of this fat without starving themselves by eating large amounts of food and vomiting this food. This are the main signs of this disorder which are eating a large amount of food over a very short time or binge-eating and then ridding the patient’s body of the extra food or purging by making himself or herself vomit, taking laxatives or exercising excessively, or a combination of these behaviours. People with this disorder are the same as people who have anorexia nervosa.

This is because both of these patients are fearful of getting fat. This happens when these patients see that their weight isn’t the ideal one they want. Physical signs are also present in this disorder such as feeling fatigued and a puffy face due to purging. You can learn more about the signs of this disorder by buying this book here.

Eating disorder meaning

The meaning of eating disorders is illnesses in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviours and related thoughts and emotions to these behaviours. People with these disorders usually become preoccupied with food and their body weight. In many cases, these disorders occur together with other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder and alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research suggests that heredity may play a part in why certain people develop these disorders but these disorders also afflict many people who have no related family history. 

Different eating disorders

Different kinds of eating disorders exist to create treatments for these different behaviours in eating. One of these disorders is anorexia nervosa. This disorder is likely the most well-known eating disorder in society. This disorder develops during adolescence or young adulthood and tends to affect more women than men. 

People with this disorder view themselves as overweight, even if they’re excessively underweight. They tend to constantly monitor their weight and avoid eating certain types of foods usually foods with high calories. Pica is another eating disorder that involves eating things that are not considered food. People with this disorder crave non-food substances, such as ice, dirt, soil, chalk, soap, paper, hair, cloth, wool, pebbles, laundry detergent, or cornstarch and are associated with mental disabilities.

Different types of eating disorders

Eating disorders are a group of mental conditions marked by an unhealthy relationship with food. Three main types of eating disorders are found and these are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.  Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by weight loss often because of excessive dieting and exercise, sometimes to the point of starvation. Bulimia nervosa is the mental condition that is marked by cycles of extreme overeating, known as bingeing, followed by purging or other behaviours to compensate for the overeating. 

Starving yourself

You can starve yourself when you restrict your food intake or take medications that can release all of your food intakes. Unfortunately, this behaviour can cause horrible outcomes. Weight loss due to starvation causes people to lose significant amounts of lean muscle mass and Lean Body Mass which includes water, bones, organs, and other internal organs in the body. This behaviour reduces the mass of your bones which is very problematic since this decreases bone density and can make you more prone to injury. 

Not wanting to eat

Not wanting to eat is another meaning for the loss of appetite. A decreased appetite occurs when you have a reduced desire or need to eat. This condition may also be known as a poor appetite or loss of appetite. This is also considered as a medical term because this is related to anorexia.

A wide range of conditions can cause your appetite to decrease. These conditions range between mental and physical illnesses. If you develop loss of appetite, you may also have related physical symptoms such as weight loss or malnutrition. These effects can be serious if left untreated so it’s important to find the reason behind your decreased appetite and treat it immediately.

Eating disorders names

The different names of eating disorders are based on the diagnostic description of each disorder. Anorexia nervosa was named as such since people who have this disorder are anxious about gaining weight. Bulimia nervosa was named as this disorder since people with this disorder tend to be anxious about keeping their weight. Binge-eating disorder is named as such since this disorder is relevant to people who have many episodes of eating too much food.

Food guilt eating disorder

Food guilt is considered to be a possible form of an eating disorder. While food guilt is natural in small doses, people might be surprised to learn that it can be classified as a psychological disorder as soon as it starts interfering with daily activities. In its most severe form, food guilt is associated with disordered eating which ranges from binge eating to purging. However, it is important to know that food guilt exists on a less severe form as well.

To a certain extent, this condition is completely normal. People tend to over-indulge a bit too much occasionally whether that means eating too much ice cream or enjoying that slice of pizza. Over-indulging behaviour happens and that is alright. However, if every single meal is a battle with excessive guilt, shame and potential regret, then this might be a more serious mental condition. 

Eating disorders and control

Eating disorders have a symptom of control. This is because the symptoms of this disorder and obsessive-compulsive symptoms severity were positively associated with an external locus of control, negative sense of control, feelings of ineffectiveness, and fear of losing self-control. Both of these symptoms were negatively associated with a sense of mastery. Researchers stated that ineffectiveness and fear of losing self-control are important to consider in the maintenance and treatment of disordered eating behaviours in patients.

Eating disorders UK

Several organisations in the UK have dedicated their group to treat people with eating disorders. The Beat is one of these organisations. This group has workshops for people who are suffering from these disorders. These workshops can also help them to focus less on their bodies and start looking for better specializations in life.

This group also has a helpline for people who need counselling for these problems. The Eating Disorder Hope is also one of these organisations. This group is a charity for people with these disorders. This group offers support and education for people who have these disorders.


Eating disorders are psychological disorders that involve the problems in eating habits such as bingeing, purging, and excessive restriction of food. These disorders have different types which are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Symptoms of these disorders are related to obsessive-compulsive disorder since both disorders demand control over eating too little food or too much food. You can comment below on your thoughts about these disorders and share your experiences with this disorder.

FAQ Questions

What is food-related disorder?

The food-related disorder is another term for an eating disorder.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a series of behaviours used to reach a particular weight through dieting.

What is not eating called?

The behaviour of not eating is called anorexia nervosa.

What food causes diseases?

The food that causes diseases is the salmonella species.

What does drunkorexia mean?

Drunkorexia means the purging, restricting, and bingeing of food paired with alcohol abuse.


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Beat. (2017, September). Binge Eating Disorder. Retrieved from here.

Beat. (2017, September). Bulimia Nervosa. Retrieved from here.

Crown. (2018, January). Eating disorder. NHS. Retrieved from here.

Crown. (2018, January). Overview Anorexia nervosa. Retrieved from here.

Crown. (2017, December). Overview Binge eating disorder. NHS. Retrieved from here.Mental Health Foundation. (2019, April). Eating disorders. Retrieved from here.

Eating disorder (A guide)