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Eating disorders and body image

If someone you know seems unusually preoccupied with food and their weight, has strange eating rituals or sneaks off to the bathroom straight after meals, they might be dealing with an eating disorder.

There are many different types of eating disorders from mild through to severe cases that can have dramatic health consequences and even result in death. Treatment is available to help people with disordered eating to develop a healthy attitude towards food and in turn lead healthier lives.

While many people have heard of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, there are several other eating disorders that often come under the name 'other specified feeding and eating disorders' (OSFED). These generally refer to people who might have many of the symptoms of one or more types of eating disorder, but who don't meet all the criteria for a diagnosis of any single disorder.

Head to Health, an online gateway funded by the Australian Government that can help you find free and low-cost, trusted phone and online mental health resources, including information about eating disorders. Or find out more below.

Eating disorders

An unhealthy relationship with food and eating may indicate an eating disorder, a potentially serious mental health condition.

Anorexia nervosa

People with anorexia nervosa have an irrational fear of gaining weight and put themselves on restrictive diets and harsh, punishing exercise routines.

Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder (BED) often involves someone eating large amounts of food even after they feel full. Discover more about BED here.

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder causes someone to feel shame or disgust with part of their body or appearance. Any body part can become its focus.

Body image

Having an unhealthy body image is bad for general wellbeing and is also incredibly time consuming. Here are a few tips for improving your body image.

Bulimia nervosa

It's not unusual to be concerned about body image or diet, but using extreme weight loss methods can lead to eating disorders, like bulimia nervosa.

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Top results

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are a mental illness. The most common types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other binge eating disorders. They can affect women and men of all age groups, from a range of backgrounds and cultures. Many people might be living with these disorders without being diagnosed.

Read more on WA Health website

Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a serious mental illness, characterised by eating, exercise and body weight or shape becoming an unhealthy preoccupation of someone's life. Its estimated that one million Australians have an eating disorder, and this number is increasing. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice, a diet gone wrong or a cry for attention. Eating disorders can take many different forms and interfere with a persons day to day life. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognises four eating disorders:

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

What is binge eating disorder? Eating disorders explained

Binge Eating Disorder is a serious mental illness characterised by regular episodes of binge eating.

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is a psychological illness characterised by frequently eating excessive amounts of food, often when not hungry. Binges represent a distraction that allows a person to avoid thinking about the real root of their problems. Feelings of guilt, disgust and depression often follow a bingeing episode. Binge Eating Disorder is not the same as overeating, as it is recurrent and more serious.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

Treatments for eating disorders | Eating disorders | ReachOut Australia

There are a number of different types of eating disorder treatments, as well as different health professionals you can talk to about them.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

What is binge eating disorder? | Eating disorders | ReachOut Australia

There are signs that indicate someone might have binge eating disorder, as well as a number of ways to get help.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Eating disorders

Many teenagers feel uncomfortable with their bodies, which can seem to be rebelling against them by growing bulges and sprouting hair in weird places. Coupled with these physical changes, low self-esteem and negative thoughts and emotions about body image and self-worth can contribute to eating disorders in young people.

Read more on beyondblue website

Psychological Effects | Eating Disorders Victoria

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has many psychological effects.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

Eating disorders, anxiety and depression

Having an eating disorder is neither a lifestyle choice, a ‘diet gone wrong’, nor an attempt to get attention. A person with an eating disorder has a mental health condition.

Read more on beyondblue website

Other eating disorders

The most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has made several changes to the categorisation of eating disorders. The category that was known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), has been removed, and there are two new categories; Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) and Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED). These new categories are intended to more appropriately recognise and categorise conditions that do not more accurately fit into Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, BED, or the other eating and feeding disorders.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

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