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Eating disorders

Eating disorders are serious and can affect anyone. They can take many different forms and have a significant impact on someone’s health. With treatment recovery is possible.

Content Warning: this article contains information about mental health which may be distressing or triggering.

Girl looking anxious with thought bubbles about food, gym equipment, scales

What​ ​is​ ​an​ ​eating​ ​disorder?

It’s more than just eating too little or too much. It’s when someone has an unhealthy preoccupation with eating, exercising, or their body size or shape.

Here’s what you need to know about eating disorders:

  • Eating disorders can’t be identified by someone’s size or shape

  • Both males and females of any age can develop an eating disorder

  • Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice, a diet gone wrong or a cry for attention

  • Sometimes eating disorders develop as a way for someone to feel in control of emotions or something that is happening in their life

  • Eating disorders can have a lifelong impact on someone’s health

  • Eating disorders are very serious and it’s important to get support

  • Help is available and recovery is possible

Types of eating disorders

Eating disorders can come in many forms. Here are the most common:

Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating Disorder

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)

How to tell if your relationship with food is becoming unhealthy

You may notice changes in your:


Recognising the signs and symptoms

Here are some of the most common warning signs and symptoms

Changes in your appearance:

  • Sudden weight loss or gain

  • Appearing tired and sluggish

  • Changes in your clothing style

  • Changes in your hair, skin and nails


Changes in emotions:

  • Unhappy with your body shape or size

  • Feeling anxious, upset or guilty after eating

  • Moody, irritable or have low energy

  • Nervous or out of control around food

  • Feeling sensitive when people are talking about food or weight


Changes in the way you behave:

  • Stealing or hiding food

  • Feeling faint, dizzy or weak

  • Exercising often or excessively

  • Vomiting after meals or using laxatives

  • Eating in secret or avoiding eating with others

  • Dieting, overeating, fasting or changing the way you eat

  • Feeling cold all the time – even in warm weather


Changes in the way you think:

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Intense fear of gaining weight

  • Distorted view of your body

  • Worrying about what you eat or the way you eat

  • Finding it hard not to focus on food, eating or body weight

Who can help?

If you’re concerned about your eating habits, it’s important to seek support as soon as possible.

Here's who can help:

Doctor or nurse
Kids Helpline
Social Worker
Service that specialises in eating disorders

You're not alone

With help you can start to change your relationship with food.

If​ ​you​ ​notice​ ​any​ ​of​ ​these​ ​signs​ ​or​ ​you’re​ concerned about​ ​your​ ​eating​ ​and exercise​ ​habits​ ​–​ ​we’re​ ​here​ ​to​ ​help. 

Give​ ​us​ ​a​ ​call,​ ​start​ ​a​ ​WebChat​ ​or​ ​email​ ​us​ ​today.

If you are looking for more digital services and resources, check out Head to Health.

This content was last reviewed 14/02/2018

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