Definition of eating disorders - Eating disorders are characterised by disturbances in food-intake which can include over and under-eating. They are 10 times more likely to affect women, although reports of male cases are on the increase. If not treated, eating disorders can have serious effects on an individual's health. Chief causes include social pressures about 'being thin' and psychological issues such as depression or low self-esteem.
Some of the most common eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. Both are triggered by an intense desire to lose weight. Sufferers of Anorexia often diet to such an extent, that their weight becomes dangerously low. They sometimes accompany dieting with obsessive exercise, to allay irrational fears about weight. They may also try to substitute eating by smoking or chewing gum - sufferers will likely appear painfully thin.
One of the main symptoms of Bulimia is binge eating. The sufferer consumes large amounts of food in a short space of time which is often followed by feelings of guilt. This may cause them to try and rid themselves of what they've eaten by vomiting, or by using laxatives. There is also a variant of Bulimia called Bulimia Eating disorder. This involves binge eating without vomiting, and is less serious with sufferers more likely to put weight on. Below is a list of eating disorder therapy resources and help-lines.
Help-line counselling for eating disorders
Beat Eating Disorders Helpline - 0845 634 1414
A registered charity that provides information about eating disorder therapy through their website and phone service. They also work to increase awareness about eating disorders and provide sufferers with as much information as possible to help them address and treat their problem.
Caraline - 01582 457 474
Set up in 1984 to help people affected by eating disorders. They supply information about eating disorder treatment and give accurate description of the main disorders. They offer help through their email and helpline service.
Eating disorder treatment
Anorexia and Bulimia Care
This Christian organisation was established in 1989 and is designed to help those suffering from eating disorders. They provide email and telephone support and their site includes descriptions about disorders with advice for sufferers and their families. There's also info about eating disorder treatment.
The National Centre For Eating Disorders
An extensive online resource about eating disorder therapy and treatment. The site has information about counselling, self-help and provides an e-counselling service.