What’s an Eating Disorder?

What’s an Eating Disorder?

Aurélie Bourgeois, Journalist


Eating disorders are mental health conditions but not only about food, even though “eating” is part of the name.


People talk about eating disorders without knowing the real meaning of it. It is actually a mental disorder in which the victims don’t eat normally and have an unhealthy relationship with food that affects their mental or physical health. There are different types of eating disorders and you have to be diagnosed by a professional about those issues.


The most common type of eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. The victims view themselves overweight, even though they are really underweight. They avoid certain food and count their calories. They have a fear of gaining weight. Another one that is well-known is bulimia nervosa. People who suffer from that go through episodes in which they keep eating until they are full. They can’t control what they eat and they can’t stop eating. In those episodes they eat food they would usually avoid, so they then force themselves to vomit and do excessive exercise. The last common ed is binge eating disorder. It is similar to bulimia, but they don’t have unhealthy behaviors to lose the weight they’ve gained, so they are often overweight.


The causes of eating disorders are still unknown, but doctors think it could be the genetics. It could also be a physical factor. For example, people who don’t “fit” the beauty standards perfectly are most likely to develop one. The last factor would be psychological. The victims may not have enough self esteem or they could feel inferior to others.


The treatments depend on the type of disorder the person has, but it is usually therapy, nutrition education or medications. If the situation doesn’t improve, you could even be hospitalized.