Eating Disorders can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, men, women, girls and boys. When someone starts to develop an eating disorder they become very concerned with controlling their food and weight, usually seeing this as the most important way to feel in control of life. They may use exercise excessively, take laxatives or diet pills or start to vomit after eating to promote weight loss or stop weight gain. Frequently the person dislikes their physical appearance, sometimes intensely and can develop mixed feelings of confusion, shame, insecurity and anxiety. This can develop further into depression and self-hatred.
Frequently, the person feels unable or unwilling to confide in others about their difficulties and can be in denial about what is happening to them or are convinced they should be able to solve any problems alone. Frequently it is others who first raise concerns, teachers, friends, parents or partners. Anorexia nervosa describes being at a low body weight, bulimia nervosa describes being at a normal body weight. Both can be associated with dieting, bingeing, vomiting, over exercise or using laxatives to control weight.