Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health. There a range of conditions that can affect that person physically, psychologically and socially.
The most common eating disorders are:
- Anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
- Bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
- Binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time.