What is an eating disorder?
The Three Most Common Types
Binge Eating Disorder
- Dieting despite being thin – Following a severely restricted diet. Eating only certain low-calorie foods. Banning “bad” foods such as carbohydrates and fats.
- Obsession with calories, fat grams, and nutrition – Reading food labels, measuring and weighing portions, keeping a food diary, reading diet books.
- Pretending to eat or lying about eating – Hiding, playing with, or throwing away food to avoid eating. Making excuses to get out of meals (“I had a huge lunch” or “My stomach isn’t feeling good.”).
- Preoccupation with food – Constantly thinking about food. Cooking for others, collecting recipes, reading food magazines, or making meal plans while eating very little.
- Lack of control over eating – Inability to stop eating. Eating until the point of physical discomfort and pain.
- Secrecy surrounding eating – Going to the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed. Going out alone on unexpected food runs. Wanting to eat in privacy.
- Eating unusually large amounts of food with no obvious change in weight.
- Going to the bathroom after meals – Frequently disappears after meals or takes a trip to the bathroom to throw up. May run the water to disguise sounds of vomiting.
- Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after eating. May also take diet pills to curb appetite or use the sauna to “sweat out” water weight.
Binge Eating Disorder
- Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating.
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food.
- Eating even when you're full.
- Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret.
- Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone.
- Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating.
- Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating.
The Video Below is a Student Made PSA about Being Aware of Eating Disorders
Getting Help with Treatment
The most effective and long-lasting treatment for an eating disorder is some form of psychotherapy or psychological counseling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs. Ideally, this treatment should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severities of the disorder and the patient’s particular problems, needs, and strengths.
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Each year, the National Eating Disorders Association continues to raising awareness about eating disorders and the resources available to those suffering by promoting activities and events around the country. This is key to garnering local, regional and national media attention.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 23-March 1, 2015.
NEDA Toolkits for Parents, Teachers and Coaches in pdf format
The NEDA Parent Toolkit is for anyone who wants to understand more about how to support a family member or friend affected by an eating disorder. You will find answers to your insurance questions; signs, symptoms and medical consequences; information about treatment and levels of care; and questions to ask when choosing a treatment provider.
The NEDA Educator Toolkit is a resource for educators, staff who work in a school setting or those who work with youth outside of school. If you want to understand more about eating disorders, if you’d like to know how to support students and young people who may be affected, this information will help you.
The Coach & Athletic Trainer Toolkit is a resource for staff who work in gyms, school settings, outside athletic groups, dance studios, etc. who would like to know how to support athletes who may be affected by eating disorders. We've included frequently asked questions and common myths about eating disorders, strategies for assisting athletes and much more.
Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder
When initiating a conversation with someone who may have an eating disorder, it is important to remain supportive, non-judgmental and let them know that they are not alone. Here are some recommended Do's and Don’ts of talking to someone about their eating disorder:
- Learn the difference between facts and myths about weight, nutrition and exercise
- Ask what you can do to help
- Listen openly and reflectively; be patient and non-judgmental
- Talk with the person in a kind way, when you are not angry, frustrated or upset
- Explain the reasons for our concerns, without mentioning specific eating behavior
- Ask if he/she is willing to explore these concerns with a healthcare professional who understands eating disorders
- Remind the person that many people have successfully recovered from an eating disorder
- Invade privacy and contact the patient’s doctors, friends or others to check up behind his/her back
- Demand weight changes (even is clinically necessary for health)
- Insist the person eat every type of food at the table
- Make eating, food, clothes or appearance the focus of conversation
- Offer more help than you are qualified to give
“Eating Disorders Help Guide.” Helpguide.org, Helpguide.org. Web. 7 July 2014.
“General Information.” National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014.
“Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder.” Helpguide.org, Helpguide.org. Web. 7 July 2014.
“Index of Handouts.” National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014.
National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA. Web. 7 July 2014.
“Promote NEDAwareness Week.” National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014.
“Toolkits.” National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014.
Zhang, Angela. “Student Made PSA- Anorexia and Bulimia Awareness.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 8 Jan. 2013. Web. 7 July 2014.