Eating disorders

What are eating disorders?

Although it is mostly women who suffer from eating disorders, an increasing number of young men are also experiencing them. They are as much a social and cultural problem as a personal one. Obsessive thoughts about, and the behaviour associated with, food are used as a means of dealing with emotional distress that cannot be expressed in any other satisfactory way.

The emotional distress is often to do with a negative perception of oneself, a feeling of being unable to change "bad" things about oneself.  Other contributory factors are relationship or family problems, anxiety, depression and stress. As a result, behaviour with regard to food is used as an inappropriate way of taking control.

So, while the eating disorder itself is usually symptomatic of an underlying emotional or psychological issue, these underlying issues are not necessarily unusual or traumatic incidents. They may be fairly commonly experienced problems that have built up over a period of time.

Even though exact symptoms vary due to individual personality, lifestyle and circumstances, these are three commonly experienced eating problems that often have overlaps between them:

If you think you have a problem with food and you would like to speak to a counsellor about it, please contact us.

Symptoms associated with eating disorders:

Self Help Support

External resources

If you are worried about your food-related behaviour, you may find the following websites helpful: