Eating disorders are characterized by disturbances in eating behavior. This can mean eating too much, not eating enough, or eating in an extremely unhealthy manner (such as binging or stuffing yourself over and over). Many people argue that simple overeating should be considered a disorder, but at this time it is not in this category.
The types of eating disorders include:
While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food.
Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. Scientists and researchers are still learning about the underlying causes of these emotionally and physically damaging conditions. We do know, however, about some of the general issues that can contribute to the development of eating disorders.
People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.