EATING DISORDERS SUPPORT
Most people have got issues about their body. There’s a bit they don’t like or wish they could change. Sometimes though this gets out of hand. It can dominate their lives and mean that they become obsessed with what they’re eating and how their body looks.
Although people think of young women having eating disorders, it can also affect men too. Increasingly, the pressures that are placed on us to look a certain way, mean that men are becoming more and more worried about their appearance. The most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. In both these conditions, people control their food and eating as a way of trying to cope with their feelings and anxieties. It’s important to remember that people with eating disorders sometimes have a normal body weight and that the problem can go unnoticed for a long time.
People with anorexia don’t eat enough. But it’s more complex than that. Their problems are caused by how they think they look. They believe that they are fat, or that there are parts of their bodies that are fat, even though other people looking at them can see that they’re not. Sometimes they exercise way too much, or use laxatives to control their weight. They can have really low confidence, and often have depression or behavioural problems. Not eating enough can have serious outcomes for the person’s body. They can be really ill and even have to go into hospital.
Bulimia is more common than anorexia. In bulimia people often have an obsession with weight and shape and they tend to eat loads of sugary, fatty foods, which they wouldn’t usually let themselves eat. This is called ‘binging’. These binges are then often followed by panic about the over-eating, so they go and starve themselves, make themselves sick, take laxatives or over-exercise.
Both anorexia and bulimia are serious conditions. People with these problems need proper help. Sometimes, there’s underlying problems going on, such as depression, sexual abuse, anxiety or stress that need to be sorted out as well. But with the right help and support you can address the problems behind your eating and get back to a more balanced way of dealing with food. This support can come from friends, family and sometimes from professionals such as doctors. But first off, why not try talking about your problems with The Links Foundation. It’s confidential and no one is going to judge you.